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:

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

As well as:

  • a willingness to research, study and learn from others
  • 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:

Becoming an antique dealer typically doesn’t require specific GCSE subjects, as it’s a profession that values a wide range of skills and knowledge. Antique dealers buy, sell, and trade collectible and vintage items, including furniture, art, jewelry, and more. The qualifications and skills needed for success in this field are often acquired through practical experience, research, and a passion for antiques. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for an aspiring antique dealer:

  1. Art and Art History: Courses in art and art history can help you develop an eye for quality and authenticity when it comes to art-related antiques. Understanding different artistic movements, styles, and techniques can be valuable.
  2. History: Knowledge of history, particularly the history of art, culture, and design, can be beneficial for dating and assessing the historical significance of antiques.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for pricing items, negotiating deals, and managing financial aspects of your business.
  4. Business Studies: Courses in business can provide you with valuable knowledge about entrepreneurship, marketing, and management, which are crucial if you plan to open your own antique shop or online store.
  5. English: Strong communication skills, including reading and writing, are essential for researching and describing antiques, writing item descriptions, and communicating with customers.

Remember that becoming a successful antique dealer often involves learning through hands-on experience and building a network within the antique community. Some antique dealers also choose to pursue certifications or memberships in professional organizations related to antiques and collectibles, which can enhance their credibility in the field.

Post School

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.