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How to Get an Antique Dealer's License

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A licensed antique dealer buys and sells precious artifacts. Working in the antiques industry can be a lucrative career for some, while for others it is a way to make a living doing something that they love. Not all states or municipalities require a dealer to be licensed, but it is a good idea to check your local regulations. The licensing process is usually fairly simple.

Learn about the antique dealing trade. Before becoming a licensed dealer, you will need to establish yourself in the business. A good way to do this is to get a job in the antiques business, whether in retail or a specialty area like auctions. Research antiques by reading books and magazines devoted to the subject.

Build up an inventory. You will need to start acquiring pieces to sell and establishing relationships with vendors.

Check local licensing regulations. Regulations vary by region. Start by contacting your local city or county government office to find out if a license is required. Many city government websites will have a business licensing section with information about the types of licenses available and the application procedure.

Check with local professional associations. You may also be able to find information on licensing requirements through a local association, such as the Antique Dealers Association of Maryland or the Minnesota Antiques Dealers Association.

Obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number. Applications are available online at the Internal Revenue Service website.

Fill out and submit the licensing application. Most applications require basic information, such as the business address and a brief description of the business. You will also need to supply your Federal Tax Identification Number. Some applications ask that you describe your inventory in detail or assign an estimated value to your inventory.

Pay your licensing fee. Most applications will require a nominal licensing fee usually between $18 and $50. In larger municipalities, fees may be as much as $250.


While some regions may have licensing requirements listed on their websites, others may not. It is worth a phone call to your local agency to find out what type of license may be required.

Some regions require a specific antiques dealers license, while other regions have a broader license. Chicago, for instance, requires antique dealers to obtain a Limited Business License.


Lee Haas has been freelance writing for eight years and has been published on,, and in "Parent to Parent" magazine. Lee specializes in writing about education programs and careers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Iowa.

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