Ever wondered how we buy our unique vintage and antique furniture? Carl reveals his top tips for buying at vintage and antique fairs, shows and flea markets around the UK and reveals his favourite shows and fairs. Carl's been buying and selling vintage and antique furniture for over 10 years and has visited hundreds of fairs, markets and shows. Much of what he buys comes from the many fair and events around the UK. If you have never been to a fair or market it's worth taking a step back to consider a few things before you take the plunge. Arrive early: There is nothing more true than the old adage 'the early bird gets the worm' in the world of antique fairs. Many start at 6am and the best pieces are often gone minutes after the gates have opened. Once you do arrive plan where you want to visit first and return to those you passed earlier. Caveat Emptor: You should inspect each item in great detail and ask about its provenance, age and previous use. Don't hesitate to inspect the piece thoroughly to ensure it's worth what you are going to offer. Do not rush to buy because once bought it's unlikely that you'll be able to return it or ask for a lower price. A lot of vintage furniture at fairs and shows has been salvaged from barns, warehouses, sheds, factories and houses and may look like it needs total restoration, but surprisingly many pieces only need a basic clean and waxing to breathe life back into them and reveal a wonderful patina. Look out for wood worm damage, that may require substantial remedial work (often suspect worm infested furniture needs little more than a simple wood worm treatment). I am always on the lookout for large runs of mid century stacking chairs. The plywood seats and backs are often split and this devalues them when buying. I'll always inspect each chair and pay less for or reject damaged chairs. Stay in touch: Collect dealers' phone numbers, Facebook pages and business cards. All dealers receive new stock every week so what might not be at the event you visit could arrive the week after. Getting home: Think about how you will get pieces back home if you have not got a van / lorry. Dealers come from all over the UK and Europe and there is an informal network of people who are willing to take items back to your area for a small amount of money. The cost of transporting should be factored into the overall cost of buying the item(s). You may be able to buy similar pieces cheaper locally after the transportation costs have been added on. If you are looking to buy smaller items then a light-weight trolley will save you juggling your prize buys as you walk around the fair. Cash is King: Bring enough cash! Vintage and antique dealers only accept cash and there is nothing worse than seeing a piece of vintage furniture that you can't buy because you have run of money! Carl's Top 3 vintage fairs and shows: Newark International and Collectors Fair - Held at the Newark and Nottinghamshire Showground on an enormous 84 acre site, up to 2,500 stands attract thousands of dealers and buyers from around the globe every other month. It holds the title of Europe's biggest vintage and antique show and it's not for the faint-hearted. I would recommend trying out smaller events before tackling this monster. I met a Japanese antique trader selling unique Japanese ship furniture when I visited in October. Next event: Thursday 2nd to Friday 3rd February 2017. Edinburgh Antiques and Collectables Fair at Ingliston - this one is only 35 miles away and is an indoor event of over 200 traders selling mainly antique 'smalls' (smaller decorative pieces): vintage lighting, vintage clothing, china and tableware, jewellery.. Next event: Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th February. Josh and Ella love looking for vintage toys at thus event. http://www.b2bevents.info/edinburgh_antiques_dealers.html Farming Yesteryear and Vintage Rally (aka Scottish Vintage Tractor and Engine Club) this is my hidden gem of a show and it's a real family event held at the end of the summer in the shadows of Scone Palace, Perthsire. It showcases ploughing with vintage tractors, vintage tractor rallies, agricultural and machinery displays. There is a fantastic array of vintage traders selling mainly auto parts, but also other vintage items. Next event: usually 2nd Sunday in September.