Rim Country Antique And Craft Festival To Feature Collector Inspector

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Informative and entertaining, the Rim Country Antique and Craft Festival is this weekend, Oct. 11 and 12 at the Pine Community Center.

Sponsored by the Pine-Strawberry Historical Society, there will be displays in the gymnasium and on the grounds.

Among the festival highlights are an appraisal clinic, silent auction, arts and crafts booths, a pit barbecue and fall desserts. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Appraisal clinic tickets for the oral appraisals by Harry Rinker are available at the Pine Strawberry Museum. Tickets are $10 per item to be appraised, and are sold for a particular time slot. Tickets are also available at the door, but to avoid a long wait, buy your tickets in advance.

Everyone is invited to watch Rinker, HGTV's Collector Inspector, a noted author and antiques and collectibles expert, do his appraisals for no charge. He is very entertaining, as well as knowledgeable.

The silent auction is all weekend. Those interested in participating must register. They will be given a number, which they will include with their bid, which will be written on a sheet next to the item(s) they want. The silent auction closes at 3 p.m. Sunday. The top bidder does not need to be present to collect, they can be notified through the information provided at the registration.

In addition to the silent auction, there will be a "store" for some items, allowing eager customers to "buy it now" instead of waiting for the close of the auction.

The pit barbecue will be Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. in the cultural hall. The barbecue beef, cooked by Albert Hunt, will be served with potato salad, ranch beans, rolls and a drink for just $6 per person.

Fall desserts will be served by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce in the ramada at the community center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As part of the Rim Country Antique and Craft Festival, the Pine/Strawberry Holiday Boutique will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the Oct. 11 and 12 weekend in the arts and crafts room at the community center. It will continue to be open every Saturday and Sunday through October and November from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, the boutique will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Admission to the festival is free and is being organized by Arizona Antique Shows, operated by Wanda and Robert Jones. Among the featured pieces at the festival are European, Victorian and Early American antiques. There will also be collectibles, including jewelry, pottery, glass, and clocks. The festival will have Western antiques and collectibles, plus Native American artifacts, rugs, kachinas, art and jewelry.

Proceeds from the appraisal clinic and silent auction benefit the Pine-Strawberry Archaeological and Historical Society.

Tips for new antique collectors

With so many different dealers selling their wares at the upcoming Rim Country Antique and Crafts Festival, the selection of a dealer will primarily be motivated by whether or not they possess an item a collector desires. Even in those transactions, caution is warranted.

Here are some suggested guidelines for the beginning collector to use to help reduce risks as they venture into this exciting, friendly, fun and generally honest field.

What to look for

  • High quality merchandise

This tells you two important things about a dealer. First, it establishes that they have the knowledge necessary to find and care for desirable antiques. Secondly, it is some reassurance that they are serious about dealing as a profession. Someone who takes the time to learn about antiques and who selects only the highest quality items has invested years in that effort. This is something they enjoy and will probably stick with.

  • Antiques is their primary business

As in any exchange, dealing with someone who plans to be in the business on a continuing basis is much better for the customer. The reason for this is that those who have an ongoing antique business live or die by reputation. If they treat someone badly or cheat them, word-of-mouth will kill their business rather quickly. Therefore, they are motivated, if they wish to make a living selling antiques, to be honest.

One way to be sure antiques is someone's primary business is if they have a store. The investment in rent or a mortgage, employees, utilities and taxes indicates a very high level of commitment to the business and to the area. There are, however, many long-term, reputable dealers who sell only at antique shows and in consignment shops so this is not the only criteria one should use.

  • A good reputation with other dealers and collectors

Word-of-mouth is the primary advertising medium for antique dealers. Collectors tell one another when they have had good and bad dealings with particular dealers. Dealers tell one another what they have heard. This communication is a vital part of keeping everyone honest. Without it, there is no mechanism for removing disreputable dealers (and collectors) from the trade. So ask around. Ask at least four people who don't know each other, so you are sure to get a good and fair estimate of the general opinion. Remember that there will always be one or two people who don't like someone, but if four unacquainted people you talk to have horror stories of being ripped off by a dealer, steer clear of them. (This is fairly rare by the way.)

Negotiating

Part of the fun of antiquing is that it is one of the few areas of modern U.S. culture where negotiations between buyer and seller go on in the way most other countries do it. In many countries of the world, negotiation over the price of fruit, meat, animals, building materials and most goods is carried on in a bantering, friendly manner daily. In the U.S., most of our exchanges are accomplished in a rather impersonal, computer-scanner-manner.

For this reason, negotiating with antique dealers is something many of us need to learn as adults. It is not observed from childhood, so may be a bit unnatural. Here are some tips to help you as you negotiate:

  • An all-in-good-fun, see-what-you-can-do-for-me attitude gets you further with most dealers than a negative, attacking stance. Most dealers are not crooks, they just need to make a profit. Avoid cutting down the merchandise to get a lower price. This implies they don't carry quality and is a fairly obvious ploy. They have priced the item with any defects in mind. For example, avoid phrases like "Well, it has this big crack in it, so it's really not all that great of a piece." Instead, try "Despite the crack, I like this and would like to buy it. However, the price is a little higher than I'd care to go. Could you do better on this?"
  • Don't get too invested in a piece and getting it at a particular price. If you like it and can come to an agreement about a price you can afford, great. If not, walk away knowing you gave it a shot. The worse negotiating stance is desperate.
  • Don't assume too much about the dealer's knowledge from their dress or demeanor. There are veritable Ph.D.s in antiques walking around out there who don't care much about the suit-and-tie look (maybe that's part of why they chose this profession). Some dealers are very knowledgeable about every item they carry, others aren't. Talking with someone awhile about the items in their selection will help you determine if they have done the research to know a piece's true value or not.
  • Don't assume that because a dealer knows more than you, that you can't get a good deal. You still may have some way of realizing the value of a piece that they can't take advantage of. Perhaps you know someone who'd pay quite a bit for the last whatever in their collection. The piece may not be worth that much to any other collector, but since it fills out that person's collection, they'd give someone a lot for it. Also, if you have special skills for refurbishing antiques (or have a friend who does) you may be able to bring a piece to its top-dollar condition. This is something many dealers don't have the time or resources to do.
  • Take the time to visit and ask questions. Dealers are in this business because they love antiques. They like to talk about them, show off their new acquisitions and tell you tales of good and bad deals. Listening is learning and will later help you save yourself money and grief. Also, many dealers just like people and enjoy a good conversation. That "I like you" edge does count in the price they will be willing to give you -- plus there is the chance you'll make a friend.

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