Hand’s down the most important thing you can take is your cell phone and the contact information for an appropriate “expert” when you come upon an item you think may be of consequence. The ideal expert is probably an appraiser with expertise in the fields that you are interested in i.e. Chinese porcelain, Eighteenth-Nineteenth Century furniture, paintings and graphics, silver, etc.

Preferably you will have taken a meeting or had business dealings with the appraiser previously, at this time you will have discussed that it be appropriate for you to call him/her should you come upon items of interest. They will undoubtedly say “yes of course”. During my tenure at Sotheby’s and subsequent tenure as an independent appraiser I have literally taken hundreds of these calls from all over the world, London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, etc. As well as from antique shows and flea markets. The truth be told the phone calls are fun for both the person that is considering buying the item and for me personally, as far as my practice is concerned there is no charge for these phone consultations. There may be a charge if a purchase is made and a formal written appraisal is required. I especially like taking these calls at my office where I have access to my computer and my library.

Now that you are forearmed enjoy you’re antiquing!