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The Ten Levels of the Antiques Trade by Ed Welch for the Journal of Antiques
As many of you are aware, Ed Welch passed away in October, 2012. His wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit will be greatly missed. At the request of many its loyal readers, the Journal of Antiques & Collectibles has published some of his columns from past years. Here is one below:
The antiques trade is divided into ten levels, based on selling price. Low-level antiques are sold in flea markets and perpetual yard sales. Mid-level and high-level antiques are sold in individually owned shops, group shops, and at antique shows.
Businesses that provide services to the antiques trade can also be divided into the same ten levels. There are many types of auction houses. Some serve the low-levels of the trade. Other auction houses serve the mid-levels of the antiques trade and a few auction houses serve the high-end of the antiques trade.
Antique trade publications can also be divided into various levels. However, there is much overlapping of levels served by trade publications. Generally, it can be said that trade publications can be divided into three levels, low-end, mid-level, and high-end, with much overlapping.
When I entered the antique trade in the mid-1960s, there were no trade publications, no price guides, very few auction services, no group shops, no antique shows and just three levels of antiques – low, middle, and high