Treasure Hunting

Antique Duck

Photograph by Mark Fleming

By Caitlin Gilmet
Photographs courtesy of the Maine Antiques Exposition

This month finds 66 dealers from seven states gathering in Portland for the Maine Antiques Exposition. Expo organizer and Wells antiques dealer John DeSimone offered us some tips on making an educated buy.

1 Stick with the classics.

If you’re hoping to acquire something that will grow in value, go for the tried and true. “Folk art and Americana are perpetual favorites.”


2 Don’t be shy about dickering.

Many dealers are open to negotiating. “Their costs may include booth rentals, travel, and storage, so keep that in mind. If they’re able to make a fair profit at your price point, you may be able to negotiate a deal.”


3 Educate yourself.

Ask questions. “It’s hard to pinpoint value by using guidebooks alone. Victorian oak furniture is not a big seller in New England, but it’s wildly in style in the South. Regional influences and fads affect price points.”


4 Buy what you love.

Look for signs of wear and tear, of course, but put your needs and style preferences first. “You’ll live with it every day, so that you love it is key.”


5 Go early — and stick around.

More than 1,000 people attended the expo last year. Go early, and if something speaks to you, buy it. If you’re willing to risk losing it, though, you may have better luck negotiating later in the day.

Sept. 15–16, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Thompson’s Point Event Center, Portland. 800-641-6908.