Shopping at antique dealers in the flea markets

The price of objets for sale at the Saint-Ouen flea markets is not always indicated by the dealers. A few basic tips will help you to better assess the antiques and their price, get good bargains and be able to identify which products are fake and which are genuine.

Collectors and buyers must have all the recommended guarantees both for buying and selling.

Take your time

If something catches your eye, don’t hesitate to think about it first and visit other stalls at the flea markets. There is no harm in asking the person selling the object and other dealers some questions. Feel free to start up a conversation. Sleep on it, you could always return the next day after a good night’s sleep in one of the hotels situated at the flea markets! Take time to think about what you’re buying even if it means coming back another day or later on the same day (for example, after having stopped off in a café or restaurant close to the Flea markets) before you finally decide on purchasing the object of your dreams!

Bargain with the stall-holders!

Bargaining is not just shopping! It is also the pleasure taken in browsing and haggling. Try your hand at bringing the price down to get the best deal for your purchases.

To bargain well it is necessary to follow certain requirements. Some specialist terms will be of use to know. For example, an object could have the mention "circa 1900". The word CIRCA means "about" ; it is always associated with a date. For the last hundred years, "circa" has been linked to a date within a five-year margin. You can also see it abbreviated to "ca" ou "c".

Check to see if the dealer is affiliated with an organisation

In the event you fall for a costly piece of art or collector’s item, it is wise to ask the dealer if he is affiliated with a union such as the  "Compagnie Nationale des Experts" or the "Chambre Nationale des Experts" specialised in fine art objects or collectors items.

La CNE groups together art dealers specialised in antiques, paintings, books and art objects of all types from all ages. They establish private and legal expertise. La CNES groups together art experts  to attribute expertise or to estimate a painting, a piece of furniture or any fine art object or collector’s item.

You can also get information from the "Syndicat National des Antiquaires" - National Antiques Syndicate that groups together distinguished art dealers united by the following principals : Authenticity – Quality – Repute. Look out for the sign "Syndicat National des Antiquaires" in the dealer stalls at the  Paris Saint-Ouen flea markets.

Request an itemized invoice from the stall-holder

This invoice certifies that the purchase took place at a precise date. Request it. Make sure you get a proper invoice describing in detail the object you have just bought and not just a simple receipt. Do not hesitate to request that the materials used be clearly indicated on the invoice or any other information you might consider important: size, weight, colour, year, possible restorations… In the event of resale, theft or damage, the invoice is absolutely essential. The invoice serves as a certificate of authenticity and it is advisable to conserve it.

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