What is he like, a modern keeper of antiquities? How to master a profession, where to start and how to open your own antique shop?
A tall man in an expensive suit, with a cane and wearing a pince-nez, or an elderly man, somewhat battered by time, who seems to have lived in the times to which his product belongs. Where he works? In the city center, in a luxurious salon with the proud name "Antiques" or in a small basement-like place without a sign? Where did he study, how did he start his own business, where did he start, who are his clients, who is he himself - an art dealer or his connoisseur?
How to master a profession?
Surprisingly, there is nowhere to learn to be an antiquarian. No university or institute issues an appropriate certificate. But, despite the lack of special education, people who studied at the Faculty of History of Moscow State University, who graduated from the Moscow State Academic Art Institute named after V. I. Surikov, the Moscow State Art University named after Stroganov, who graduated from courses of gemologists (diagnosing and evaluating natural, refined and synthetic stones) at the Moscow City State Administration, as well as the Gelos Institute, related to the auction house. Often, such specialties are taught by people who, from childhood, become involved in antiquity, their families have heirlooms, collections of paintings or household items. After all, you need to “be sick” with antiques, to feel it with every fiber of your soul. You cannot learn to love and understand art. The ability to "communicate" with objects is given from birth, gradually you learn to understand styles, eras, subjects, gain experience in assessing them, systematize your knowledge of world art.
Where to start and how to open your store?
Usually, people with rich life experience who have mastered a certain specialty come to the antique business. Both young people and successful individuals first work as a seller in an antique store, where they learn about future customers, about the cost of things, about methods of assessment - in general, they get their hands on it. Of course, even at the initial stage, difficulties may arise, because a store with such expensive goods may not accept the first comer. In most cases, they get a job out of acquaintance: the owner wants to insure against theft and trust his employee. After all, even the cleaning in the salon is carried out by the sellers themselves, since the cleaning ladies can inaccurately touch a rarity. The consultant also takes care of the cleanliness of the store items.
In general, the work is quite difficult. You need to know about each item, not only information from the catalog, which can be read by any buyer, but also a story that is not included in any book.
After a while, when you earn extra money and gain experience, you will begin to compose your own collection and, quite possibly, become the director of a store, not your own - not yet your own. Here, the correct assessment of salon items, communication with the staff, trainings and lectures on the newly arrived product will be important. And also communication with colleagues in this business, with regular customers, search for new connoisseurs of antiquity and suppliers. What is the pinnacle of antiques? Of course, open your own salon. This usually happens when you have accumulated a certain stock of antiques, you are clearly not poor and ready to invest substantial sums in new values.
How to find a product?
The old methods still work: you advertise in the newspaper or put people in the city center with signs “buy antiques”, visit flea markets in the world, look for grandmothers who have preserved family heirlooms.
How to find buyers?
There are more and more connoisseurs of antiques every day. Your customers can be just random people who came to your store, with whom you were not previously familiar. They can be all those who are constantly spinning in this world - people who regularly replenish their collections. You will get to know them during your work as a simple seller.
An antiquarian is a person who loves art and collects them himself. An integral part of his personality is a commercial streak. He must see the thing that customers like, choose it from a million others. The antiquary realizes that he will receive the main profit not from the fact that he sells his find at an exorbitant price, but from the fact that he will buy an interesting specimen for a cheap price. After handing over to the customer an item that is too expensive, he risks losing it forever.