In an earlier post I shared 5 Tips for Negotiating at French Flea Markets. Thanks to a reader’s suggestion, I’m adding another:
Tip #6: If you purchase an expensive item at a flea or antiques market, get a detailed invoice.
The invoice doubles as your certificate of authenticity. Ask the vendor to include specific descriptors—such as the color, materials, dimensions, date of purchase, etc.—so that it clearly describes what you bought. The detailed invoice will be an essential record in case you need to follow up after your purchase.
This isn’t meant to be alarming. Nearly all my experiences at the flea markets in Paris and elsewhere have been positive, but Tip #6 is an advisable practice to follow at any antique or flea market in the world if you purchase something at a considerable sum.
At a market in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for example, I bought a sculpture and arranged with the dealer for shipment. It got damaged en route. If I hadn’t insisted upon a detailed receipt—plus taken photos of it at time of purchase, which is another good tip!— I wouldn’t have stood a chance of getting my money back.
If you have suggestions from your own experiences at flea and antiques markets anywhere in the world, send them my way. I always enjoy hearing and learning from you.