1. Research the items that you are considering collecting or purchasing. Numerous books have been written covering virtually every category of collecting. Learn as much as you can about construction, materials and style. Licensed professional antiques and collectibles dealers are also excellent sources of information.
2. Shop at shows and shops that unconditionally guarantee their merchandise to be authentic antiques and collectibles. Sadly, everything sold under the guise of “antiques” is not. Experts estimate that 70% of what is sold today as “antique” is actually either fake or just plain new.
3. When making a purchase get a written receipt, which includes the seller’s name, address and phone number, the date, a complete description of the item, including age, origin, any repairs or replacements, the price paid, method of payment and a guarantee of authenticity.
Professional antiques dealers will have no problem providing such information. Beware of vendors who “forgot” their receipt books. Have them write the important information of a piece of paper and sign it. Be sure you know the return policy of the seller.