18th Century French Guilded Bronze Inkwell and Blotter

If you’ve been a reader for awhile, then you know that I have a quill & inkwell tattoo. It’s the beginning of my “writer’s desk” themed 1/2 sleeve. My tattoo artist (Justin Sims at Freaks on Broadway) based the tattoo on an 18th century gilded bronze inkwell he found on eBay.

Inkwell & Quill Tattoo

We didn’t share that we bought the actual inkwell. We almost didn’t, because the asking price was super expensive. More than the price of the tattoo.

Well, we thought, it’s okay if antiques are pricey because they gain value. But we knew that we should research first. We looked on eBay, did some hardcore Googleing, and went to the library.

18th Century French Guilded Bronze Inkwell and Blotter

The price range for other similar pieces from the same period was lower (and more within the range of our budget). So we told the seller about our research via e-mail and asked the seller if there was anything special about this inkwell that made it worth more. The seller then wrote back to us that he was lowering the price $100 dollars! Research = payoff. Nerd win!

18th Century French Guilded Bronze Inkwell and Blotter

We’ve had other bargaining experiences that have been similarly satisfying, so we’d like to give you our haggling tips:

1. Don’t lowball. Asking for a price that is way below what the item is worth can make the seller feel insulted and will make them less likely to work with you. Do go a little under what you’d be willing to pay, but stay reasonable. Often you’ll end up paying less than you think you should. If you start of reasonable, you often don’t have to deal with counter offers.

2. Have a reason for wanting a different price. Do research to find out what the item is really worth. Point out flaws. Ask questions about the piece to see if the seller is really knowledgeable.

3. Offer to pay cash. We’ve found this to be a selling point at some antique stores. They’d rather take less cash than pay credit card fees or deal with checks.

4.Save it for the big stuff. If you always try to haggle (especially in the same place over and over again), people will be less willing to do business with you. Save the haggling for when it is really worth it.

Do you ever haggle? What has worked for you?