Hemswell Antique Centres

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Top tips for buying at antiques fairs


Seasoned buyers appear to navigate antiques fairs with ease, while others can be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the ground they occupy and the number of stalls. Our experts at Hemswell have put together their top tips to help you when buying at antique and collectors fairs.

Tips for buying at antiques fairs

Do your research 

Antiques fairs are all different, with some specialising in specific areas of collectables such as antique ceramics and others offering a wider range of items from architectural and garden antiques to clocks and scientific instruments. A little homework will ensure the fair you visit will cater for your style and taste.

Arrive early

While some antique fairs charge a higher entry fee for the first day or for early birds on subsequent days, it could be worthwhile, being the difference between finding your dream item or someone else bagging it before you. Antique fairs really are testimony to the old saying ‘the early bird catches the worm’!

Do not hesitate

Cato could have been referring to antiques fairs when he famously quoted ‘He who hesitates is lost’ as it doesn’t always pay to return to an item you like. If you like an item, others will too and it may have sold by the time you reach a decision and go back.

Is it okay to haggle?

The proliferation of television programmes on buying and selling at antique fairs and auctions have made us believe that we should always ask what a dealer’s absolute best price is. The reality, however, is that too low a price can be insulting to dealers trying to earn their living, so in general it is better not to negotiate on items selling for less than £20, and to offer up to 15% less than ticket prices on larger pieces. Us Brits find it hard to haggle, but as long as you do it politely, and can show a real love for the item, most dealers will consider reasonable offers. 

Take plenty of cash

If you are planning to buy larger items, or several smaller pieces, make sure you take enough cash. Many dealers are unable to process card payments and there may not be a cashpoint machine close by, so avoid the disappointment of losing out on your dream item through lack of cash. Taking a set amount of cash will also help anyone working within a budget not to overspend.

Interact with dealers

Dealers will always be happy to answer questions and many will take the time to give advice, particularly to the novice  collector, about prices. Take details from dealers whose items appeal to your tastes – email addresses, phone numbers, social media platforms and business cards will enable you to keep in touch and learn of any new items that they receive after the event, that you might be interested in.   

Antique fairs near me

Based near the historic cathedral city of Lincoln, Hemswell Antique Centres are ideally situated for some of the best antique fairs in the country and a spot of great sightseeing too!

Peterborough Antiques Fair

Recognised as a key date in the antique collector’s calendar, the Peterborough Festival of Antiques will take place on Friday 23rd September – Saturday 24th September 2022, at the Peterborough Arena at the East of England Showground. This friendly, twice yearly antiques fair offers a great experience for the beginner collector, as well as the professional, and is made up of four permanent buildings as well as several acres of pitches and marquees.

Newark Antiques Fair

One of the largest antiques fairs in the country and in Europe, the Newark antique and collectors fairs take place every other month, with the next due in 2022 on October 6-7. Attracting up to 5000 visitors and in excess of 2,500 stalls, Newark antiques fair encompasses a wide spectrum of antiques from period furniture to decorative antiques, silver and jewellery and much more, displayed over 80 acres.

Of course, if you are unable to attend an antiques fair, Hemswell Antique Centres are open every day throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. With over 400 expert dealers offering something for everyone, our centres make a great day out.


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