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Discover Mid-America — December 2007

Daryle Lambert –
‘Man on a mission’

by Bruce Rodgers

Daryle S. Lambert has got to be the most optimistic guy in the antiques and collectibles business. And to prove it, he’s written 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles, released earlier this year.

He says he’s a “man on a mission” to create millionaires, and he sure talks like it. Though a collector and dealer for 40 years, Lambert also worked in the oil and gas industry, real estate and financial services.

“Anyone can choose to be wealthy,” he said in a September press release. “And, they can do it right here in the antiques and collectibles market, whether they are seasoned dealers, collectors or weekend garage sale shoppers looking to sell items on eBay for extra money. Sometimes, people just need a fresh perspective and some guidance to change the way they work and think.”

Lambert, who lives in the Chicago area, is just as positive over the phone, and in his email responses to the questions we sent him in October.

DMA: If there's one attribute a collector/dealer must have to become wealthy using your 31 Steps, what is it?

Lambert: Patience is the one attribute that is needed to finish the “31 Steps to your Millions” as described in my book. Without it, you will buy too many items that don’t meet the criteria that I have set and then it will be difficult to compound your money. The compounding will be the secret to your success.

If you get in a hurry with your purchases, there will be too many mistakes made and these will be hard to overcome. Always remember that as long as you have money, there will be things to buy. Just be sure that the things you purchase have been bought using our formula for success and watch your money grow.

By acquiring patience, you will find that your knowledge will keep up with your buying power. What I mean by this is that initially you will be buying the more common antiques and collectibles, but when your money has increased by compounding, you must be looking for rarer and rarer items. To do this your knowledge base must also be increasing.

Slow down and enjoy your journey.

You rule out luck in talking about your plan. Many a dealer would attest to luck in discovering something worth more than what the seller is selling it for. Can you really discount luck in using your plan?

Luck plays no part in our plan for success. The control of how you spend your money and the knowledge you acquire will be the determining factors in your success. In fact if you don’t believe me I will give you a example of why luck isn’t important in your search..

My friend Cecil visited a mall in Kentucky and as he was passing a showcase when he noticed this drinking glass that thousands of people had passed by but it caught his eye. Asking the price he was told $13.50 and with the standard discount of 10% he bought the piece for $12.50. Two weeks later the glass was sold for $12,500.

He had spotted a Kentucky Derby Glass from the forties and had the knowledge that it took to know its value. This glass was sitting among twenty or thirty other glasses that weren’t worth $.50 apiece but he was able to pick this one out from all the others. My question to you is do you think the thousands that passed that glass were lucky. I think not and neither was Cecil, he was just prepared when the opportunity presented itself.

If you depend on luck success may never come your way but if you depend on knowledge the treasures will come your way on a regular bases.

You state in your book, "The biggest mistake most dealers make today is that they think they must buy everything that will make them money." What do you mean by "everything" — all things in a particular antique/collectible category? Or buying in all categories? And what should govern such buying? Interest? Knowledge? Emotion? Profit margin?

The important thing to remember in the antique and collectible business is that selling what you have purchased should have very little importance to you. That will always take care of itself if you have purchased correctly. What do I mean by this?

The primary problem that I find with most people that enter this business is that they buy everything that they see, hoping to make a profit on its selling price. The more they buy, the more money they can make. Whatever the amount of profit that will be — large or small. This kind of activity will assure you that your time as an antique dealer will be short lived.

While buying everything that you see may bring you that seldom found treasure, more and more of your money will end up being tied up in common merchandise that will sit on the self. When a true treasure does come your way, you run the risk of not being able to buy it.

Quality not quantity is the secret to success in this business. In fact, as you limit yourself to the rarer and harder to find items, the competition becomes less of a factor. Most people are so busy buying average merchandise and having to sell it, there isn’t enough time for them to study the rarities, where the real money can be made. Once you stop buying everything you can get your hands on, you’ll have the time to increase your knowledge of the rare and more valuable.

Buying is important but only to the extent that you must buy each item at a price that will fulfill your goal of compounding it when it is sold. Personal interest in the purchases you make should never influence your decision, because a shrewd buyer will always try to look at the things he wishes to purchase through the eyes of his perspective buyers. Emotion has no place in this business. Cool-headed dealers always rise to the top.

Being knowledgeable and being profit minded are the two qualities that separate winners from the "also rans" in this business.

What signs should one look for in detecting a particular trend where value in an antique/collectible category will increase or decrease?

There are two ways that I watch to see if the trend is up or down in a category of antiques and collectibles. But the truth is that trends whether up or down pay a very little part in whether I make money or not. We aren’t buying things to hold on to but just to turn them in the market as quickly as possible to lock in our profits. This way trends have very little effect on us but of course it is best to buy in an up trend if possible.

Daryle Lambert, author of 31 Steps To Your Million In Antiques & Collectibles.

One thing that becomes very apparent is when a company gets so successful that their quality declines. Royal Doulton was guilty of that in my opinion. They got to thinking that if it said ‘Doulton,’ the public would buy it. Wrong, when they went to producing figurines and letting them be painted as piecework and not by the artist that took time to create a masterpiece the public said no. Also, they discontinue the quality of their molds where arms become part of the body not extending from the shoulder and the hands had no fingers, just the whole hand as one piece — the public again said, ‘I’m not interested.’ This told me that the trend would be down in this area and it did collapse.

The other part of collecting is when people try to recapture their past. They buy the toys, cars, furniture and other items they remember from their childhood. So as these groups get older, their interest in collecting wanes, putting their collectibles in a downtrend. The most collectors are created from the age of fifteen to forty-five so this give you an idea what to watch for that will appeal to these groups.

As a dealer with decades of experience, where do you see the antique and collectible trade heading? And does your plan work best in a down or up market? Or does it matter?

Records are being set in every category of the antique and collectible Industry. This market has never been better than it is today. There is more money to be made in antiques and collectibles than ever before in history.

Yes, there are people still trying to do their business like they did fifty years ago, and they are screaming. I call them the ‘Chicken Littles’ because they think the sky is falling. But, the people I know are like John Wayne who said, ‘We are burning daylight.’

There isn’t a better way in the world to accumulate money than there is in these markets. Everyday I see where a piece was estimated at auction to bring $30,000 and it is hammered at $100,000.00 for the final bid. Just pick up any paper or magazine that carries final auction prices and they will see that these markets are sizzling.

Sure there are malls and antique shops that are going out of business, but in most cases it is because they aren’t willing to change with the times and technology. There is more business conducted in one market, that being eBay, than all the markets combined twenty years ago.

The wonderful thing about the principles taught in my book, 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques and Collectibles, is that you aren’t dependent upon trends or up and down markets. By being patient and buying right, there is a fortune to be made now. You don’t have to wait till later. There is always a buyer for the best, and if you have bought your pieces right, they will be standing in line to buy them from you.

What a great business this is. You get to mingle with great people, own and sell wonderful and beautiful items, and all the while accumulate a fortune. I have a hard time sleeping just thinking about what tomorrow might bring.

More information on Daryle S. Lambert and his book 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques and Collectibles can be found at Lambert also writes the antique blog “The Guy in the Red Tie.”


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