D Kevin Smith of Windsor House Antiques.

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1. When is using the internet a challenge for an antiques dealer?

The internet is becoming an ever more important part of dealing and in fact the whole retail world. You ignore it at your peril. Use it intelligently. We get people trying to extort money from us quite falsely, often based in Africa or Dubai. You learn, you get a sixth sense, but you do check and re-check before you commit yourself – and certainly before you send goods.

2. What trade associations do you belong to?

I joined LAPADA within a few months of its inception and served as vice-chairman for 23 years. I desperately wanted to try and help to promote the availability of professional advice and promote dealers generally. Its inclusivity to all was a serious commitment. Other associations believed in the opposite.

3. What current trends do you observe?

These are almost too diverse to quantify. Certainly, we find that internationally we sell things that we have had in stock for many years. Another thing that one’s intensively proud of – for colour, patina or what-have-you – might raise little interest.

4. What is one mistake to avoid making as a dealer?

I think the most important mistake one can make and certainly the most negative thing is not to be aware of what is happening. Research your market. Look at it carefully. Learn to speak with authority in whatever interests you, because you will learn about those things naturally and without too much effort.

5. Real ale or espresso martini?

Definitely an espresso martini. I have never drunk a pint of beer in my life!

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