Antiques Show Etiquette for Buyers & Sellers


Around this time each year, we like to post a handy “Dos and Don’ts” for both buyers and sellers at Antiques & Contemporary Craftsfirms shows. ‘Tis the season now that shows are picking up headed into Spring and Summer and with the National Arts & Crafts Conference less than two months away, we thought we would run this column again as a refresher for our Exhibitors and Attendees. Over the years, Bruce has collected these comments from both collectors and exhibitors.

It is important to note that while some of these tips seem like they fall within the categories of common sense and decency which comes naturally to the amazing community of collectors here, there are always exceptions and we always try our best to inform the community as a whole. Here are some etiquette tips to keep in mind for show buyers and for sellers.


For Collectors:
Do not open a display case without permission.
Do not take something out of an open display case without permission.
Do not turn a piece over to check for a shopmark without making sure no loose parts will fall off.
Do not sit on, move or turn over a piece of furniture without permission.
Never bring food or drink, even if sold inside the building, into a booth.
If you would like to take photographs of items in the booths, you will need the exhibitor’s permission before taking those pictures.
If you say, “Would you take X number of dollars?” and the exhibitor says “yes,” then a deal has been struck and you should abide by it.
Keep children, purses and backpacks in your hand, not behind you.
Don’t ask an exhibitor to put a piece “on hold” while you shop other booths.
Bring important room measurements with you.
When the show is over on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM, all attendees need to leave and vacate the show area. Exhibitors need to immediately start the long packing process and will be closing the books, so please don’t attempt to get a better deal while they are packing.

For Exhibitors:
Have the price of each piece clearly marked.
Do not attach price tags with any kind of adhesive that can damage a finish or leave a residue.
Tape down extension cords securely.
Don’t eat in your booth – you make us feel like we are bothering you.
Leave room for us in your booth – and don’t make us feel trapped.
If you display a piece precariously, then don’t be surprised if someone bumps it accidentally.
Don’t start packing up before the show officially closes.
Accept major credit cards. Have a tape measure handy.
Have bubble-wrap and bags for small items you sell.
Smile! We want to be your friend.



Have others? Please send your suggestions to [email protected]