Spencer Swaffer

Glossary Of Antiques Dealer Terms

Glossary Of Antiques Dealer Terms

Buying and selling antiques used to be a matter of quoting a price, quoting a best price and writing the invoice.

Swankier shops than mine would have large tie on tags with learned descriptions of timbers and styles.

Auctioneers wrote descriptions. Dealers bought and sold. But now, for the internet, there`s a brand new glossary of terms............

P.O.A - I`m too embarrassed to disclose the price OR I`m too afraid the bloke I bought it from will find out how much I`m asking.

Reserved – Someone`s agreed to buy it but I`m not counting on anything until I see the money in my account.

On Hold – I`ll never hear from them again.

By Appointment Only – I`ve painted a small corner of my garage brilliant white and sell on the internet.

Found In Belgium - I`ve only been to Belgium once but this Belgian emails me photos.

Found In France – I bought it at Kempton from a guy who`s van has French number plates.

Scraped Paint Finish - One layer of new paint roughly scraped off to reveal another layer of new paint.

Paint Is Refreshed – It was gloss white and I`ve repainted it Gustavian greige.

Of Recent Manufacture – It was made yesterday.

Tired Condition – It`s knackered.

Country House Condition – It`s falling to pieces and someone has pee`d on the seat.

Historic Surface – It`s covered in crud.

Gustavian – A piece of Swedish furniture so well painted and so original it would never be allowed out of Sweden.

Pair Of Swedish Commodes – A tall chest of seven drawers that`s been sawn in two, re topped, re-legged and re-painted.

I Bought It Privately – It`s just come off the van from auction.

Upholstered In Neutral Linen – Cheapest possible fabric I could find with bits of straw poking out of it. Smells like a stable and you`ll be dusting the room forever.

Reconstituted Stone – It`s Cement.

Brutalist – So ugly it`s smart.

I`d welcome any further suggestions.........

....... And here are two excellent additions from my friend, the Alabama dealer Carl Adams:

"Of The Period"--Probably later copy or fake.

"Tout Compleat"--At least one part missing probably more--to be discovered only when it arrives at the shop.

"It`s Georgian through and through" - George VI

....... The Midhurst, West Sussex, folk art and arts and crafts dealer Paul Dunn, my companion for many days out on the road, suggests:

"Early 20th century" - Made around 1949.

"Rare" - Rare. but entirely unsaleable and lacking any aesthetic charm whatsoever.

"Welsh" - English but I might get a bit more for it.

"Barn Fresh" - Came off the skip only yesterday.

"I Might Take It Home" - Please, please, pleeeeease buy it.