More than 50 years ago Harold and Albert Sack wrote, "The value of the professional dealer is threefold: to judge authenticity, to judge quality, and to determine value". These, I, believe, are also the responsibilities of a professional dealer, and I have based my career and reputation on that belief since I opened my own business in 1970.
Every piece that I sell is fully guaranteed to be as described on my sales receipt. Any repairs or restoration which, in my opinion, have an effect on an item's monetary value are noted. Obvious signs of use or age are generally not noted. Should I have missed a significant problem with a piece, I will take it back for a full refund of its purchase price. Any such problem must be agreed upon by two experts familiar with the field, and any refund is strictly limited to the amount of the purchase price. All sales to the trade are final.
All pieces in the shop or at shows are clearly marked with a 'retail' price. I make a clear distinction between ‘retail' price and a 'discounted', 'trade', or 'wholesale' price. Paying ‘retail’ allows up to 90 days to pay and includes shipping and insurance. Buying at less than the marked price requires making full payment within 15 days.
I am always interested in re-purchasing any piece that I have sold, but I must evaluate each transaction on an individual basisdepending on my funds at the time, my inventory at the time, the needs of specific customers, the state of the antiques business, and the state of the economy. I do not operate my business with a credit line from a bank or private backer, and therefore depend on a steady stream of antiques being bought, sold, and paid for as readily as practicable, to keep the business running. If I am unable to re-purchase a piece directly, I am always willing to take a piece on consignment, or suggest other avenues for its sale.
On occassion, I will examine pieces at auction for a client and provide condition reports -- either verbally or in writing. I provide this service only when I will be representing the client at the sale. I limit the number of pieces that I will examine to five, and I charge $400.00 for this service -- whether I am looking at one or five pieces. If, after examination and discussion, a client chooses to have me bid on an item, I charge a 10% commission based on hammer price. If a purchase is made, I provide a written evaluation and guarantee the item to be as represented. If my commission exceeds the initial examination fee, that fee is waived.