Collecting antiques
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • There is a wide range of antiques (or old things) that you can collect, ranging from the obvious furniture, china and pictures, to the more exotic beer mats, packages, clothes and postcards. 

  • There are specialist organisations for enthusiasts for many different kinds of antique collectors;  for more information see those organisations listed below.    

  • You can specialise in a particular period or maker as well as in type of things, or you can just collect whatever takes your fancy.  Some people collect items to keep for their own pleasure.  Others enjoy trading in their area of interest.

  • See also stamp collecting and other collecting;  the latter covers the collection of a wide range of more modern items.

Find out more


There are a number of general and professional organisations concerned with antique dealing including the following.

Antiques Directory
Antiques Domain
Antiques Web
Antiques World  

More specialist organisations for amateurs include:

British Horological Institute
British Watch & Clock Collectors Association
Wedgwood Society of Great Britain


Antique Collecting 
Antiques Trade Gazette 
The Antique Dealer and Collectors Guide

Getting started

  • Find a local group or club covering the type of antiques that interest you (see organisations above).

  • Take a class or course at your local adult education centre.

  • Consult books or magazines on different types of antiques.

  • Check in your local library/paper or education centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • Collecting is done by people of all ages, and both sexes. 

  • Much of the activity of collecting can be done at home on your own, using catalogues, the telephone, and increasingly the Internet.  But many also go frequently to shops and markets, auctions, and jumble sales.

  • Many enthusiasts also enjoy the stimulus and social contact of belonging to a collecting group of some kind. This can be a local group, or one linked by mail or Internet contacts. 

  • Through membership of a group, enthusiasts can share their enthusiasm, learn about new opportunities and exchange surplus items from their collections.

Equipment or clothing
  • The basic requirements are the things that make up the collection, a minimum of money with which to acquire them and some place to store them.  

  • Money and storage space vary greatly depending on what you collect;  a collection of quality antique furniture will take much more of both than one of old packaging or postcards.

A place or facilities

No special facilities (other than for storage) are needed. 

Groups usually meet in a local hall or room, including sometimes at members' homes.

Have a go - get started now 

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