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Arts & crafts

Antique dealer

Antique dealers buy and sell old objects and collector items.

Annual Salary

variable

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: freelance / self-employed; away from home

2.9%
Future employment

There will be 2.9% more Antique dealer jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

As part of your day-to-day work, you could:

  • buy items from salesrooms, auctions, markets and private owners
  • sell items to the public from shops or from stalls in antique centres
  • negotiate purchases and sales
  • buy and sell items online
  • carry out minor restoration work
  • research the identity and value of objects
  • value antique objects for insurance or sales purposes

Working environment

You could work at antiques fairs, at a store or from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • turning a hobby into a job
University

You could study for a degree in fine arts or art history, although this is not always essential.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You may be able to start by taking part-time or short residential courses to build up your knowledge.

Courses include:

  • antiques
  • history of art
  • fine art
  • decorative arts

For more information
Work

You could work in an antiques shop as an assistant to learn on the job.

You could also start in a salesroom or auction house as a porter, clerk, cataloguer, valuer or auctioneer.

Other routes

You could collect and research antiques as a hobby and then:

  • get a stall at an antiques market or fair
  • buy and sell on the internet
  • open a shop

Some of the larger auction houses, like Sotheby's Institute of Art and Christie's Education, run short courses in art history and the arts market. They also offer more in-depth postgraduate study aimed at graduates wanting to work in the commercial arts market.

More information

Career tips

You'll need a good knowledge of antiques and the market. Sales skills, the ability to spot items that will sell and having money to start up are likely more important than formal qualifications.

Further information

You can discover more about working in antiques through The British Antique Dealers' Association.

You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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You could progress to become a specialist dealer, valuer or auctioneer.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to sell products and services
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • business management skills
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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