Antique Dealer

Job Description:

Antique dealers buy and sell old objects and collector items.

Job Category:
Retail & Consumer

What you will do:

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


You’ll need:

  • a willingness to research, study and learn from others
  • the ability to spot saleable items
  • business sense, business management skills and a good sales technique
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to sell products and services (creativity)
  • customer service skills
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • good judgement and the ability to make quick decisions


Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

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


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


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

There are no set entry requirements for this route.


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 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.

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.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 39-41 hours of work. You could be required to work freelance/be self-employed away from home.

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

Career Path & Progression:

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