The Institute for the Study of Antiques and Collectibles, a division of Rinker Enterprises, Inc. is dedicated to providing educational services and conducting research in the antiques and collectibles field.
The Institute has a threefold educational mission:
The goals of the Institute’s educational offerings are to familiarize participants with the antiques and collectibles trade buying and selling methodology, instill a level of business acumen and ethical standards that will bring credit to the field, and provide hands-on experience with objects commonly encountered in the course of doing business in the antiques and collectibles trade. These goals are being met through the Institute’s certificate program and enrichment seminars.
Intermediate goals include the development of home study courses in print as well as on the Internet, identifying and training a group of instructors who will teach the Institute’s core courses across the United States and abroad, and offer educational workshops at antiques malls and antiques shows.
Long range goals include securing academic grants to study various aspects of the antiques and collectibles trade, gathering statistical data to document the economic impact of antiques and collectibles on the nation’s economy, and exploring the role collecting plays in the community.
Although created primarily to serve antiques dealers, the Institute’s buying and object courses also serve appraisers, auctioneers, collectors, decorators, educators, museum professionals and volunteers, and those who want to learn more about the things they inherited.
Currently, Rinker Enterprises, Inc. provides the management, teaching services, and facilities for the Institute.
Antiques and Collectibles
The Antiques and Collectibles Dealer Certificate Program is the nation’s only business and professional program based on academic principles and designed specifically to train individuals to become antiques and collectibles dealers. It is designed to serve both full- and part-time dealers.
Its multi-discipline approach provides a professional foundation of business skills and object knowledge. Emphasis is placed on learning basic skills that can be applied universally. Its courses are the standard by which all others are judged in the field.
The curriculum consists of ten courses, six required and four optional. Students are encouraged to complete the courses within a four-year period of study. Students are encouraged to work in the antiques and collectibles field during the period of their studies so that they can draw upon their personal experiences during classroom lectures and discussion.
Each course consists of fifteen classroom hours and incorporates lectures, workshops, and hands-on experiences. Students also receive a list of recommended readings. A certificate of completion of study is issued after each course is completed.
Accreditation will be in two steps: (1) the completion of the six core courses and (2) the completion of the four optional courses. When the student completes each step, he receives a special “Certified Antiques and Collectibles Dealer” certificate. This certificate greatly enhances the level of trust between the “certified” seller and buyers.
Most Institute courses have been taught multiple times. Detailed teaching outlines and reading lists exist for each course taught.
The six required courses, CP-401 through CP-406 are designed so that no information is repeated. Because they stand alone as independent units, students are not required to take these courses in numerical order.
The six required courses are:
The key to a successful antiques business is to have multiple revenue sources. This course explores primary business opportunities in the field, including the Internet, antiques malls, antiques shows, flea markets, and selling directly. It provides tips to improve those business sectors in which participants already are active and outlines the steps to make entry into a new revenue stream a smooth transition. The course concludes with a look at the international market for antiques and collectibles and how to tap into it.
This course is taught in three sections: (1) understanding and analyzing how the antiques and collectibles market functions, (2) improving buying skills, and (3) improving selling skills. Understanding market movement allows anticipation and quick response to business cycles. The key to selling successfully is to buy successfully. Exploring traditional and non-traditional approaches in both areas is discussed in class. The course concludes with a study of local, national, and international markets.
The first day focuses on how to merchandise and advertise antiques and collectibles. The second day concentrates on the ethical, financial, and legal obligations confronting every dealer. Strong emphasis is placed upon the concept that you can be honest and still make a living in the antiques and collectibles business.
It is estimated that well over 30% of the objects found in the antiques and collectibles field are highly restored, rebuilt, reproductions, copycats, fantasies, or fakes. This course begins with a set of general rules that can be applied throughout the field. Next, one learns how to supplement these rules through the use of physical and experiential senses. Hands-on sessions include the study of furniture, glass, ceramics, and metals.
Furniture forms are examined through a detailed explanation of furniture terminology. The stylistic history of American furniture from the seventeenth century to the present follows. European antecedents of American styles are explored. As each style is presented, leading manufacturers and construction innovations are discussed. The course concludes with an examination of vernacular and regional furniture.
In addition to the six core courses, participants in the certificate program must take four additional elective courses that are object focused. Each course focuses on three key areas: (1) identification and authentication, (2) grading, and (3) determining value. Students are encouraged to bring pieces from their own collection for analysis. Like the core courses, each elective course consists of fifteen hours of classroom instruction (lectures, workshops, and hands-on experience) plus a required reading list. Reading lists are supplied in advance, and participants are encouraged to read the material prior to attending the course.
The elective courses are listed below. An asterisk (*) indicates that the course has been taught previously and a course description and outline are on file.
Harry L. Rinker serves as the principal instructor for the six core courses, on occasion assisted by members of the Rinker Enterprises, Inc. staff or outside instructors. Harry Rinker selects the individuals who will teach the elective courses, approves all teaching materials in advance, and monitors the instruction to see that the Institute’s high standards are met.
Enrichment ~ One-Day Seminars
The Institute has presented a number of one-day seminars that focus on one specific business practice or collecting category. Participants receive a minimum of six hours of classroom instruction, hands-on experience where applicable, and handouts which include recommendations for additional study.
One-day seminars are designed to enhance the education of students who are enrolled or have completed the Antiques and Collectibles Dealer Certificate Program, others engaged in the antiques and collectibles field, and members of the community who wish to learn more about the topic being presented. The seminars are offered on a non-credit basis.
Enrichment seminar instructors are nationally recognized authors and collectors. When appropriate, they will be supplemented by members of the Rinker Enterprises, Inc. staff.
Previous one-day seminar offerings have included:
Enrichment ~ Two-Day Master Courses
Master courses are taught entirely hands-on and limited to no more than twenty-five students. A student must complete the basic CP-400 or CP-600 course before taking a master course.
Master courses have been offered in:
Enrichment ~ Conferences and Workshops
The Institute has sponsored one two-day conference. The Women’s Jewelry & Accessories Conference brought together leading scholars and collectors to examine a series of special topics related to collecting women’s jewelry and accessories
The Institute began teaching courses in 1991. At its peak, the Institute offered one two-day course each month, with the exception of January and February, and a summer institute held each June in which three or four courses were offered back to back.
In the late 1990s, the Institute dropped the certificate program when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania suggested it was operating a trade school without a license. The Commonwealth indicated it had no objection to the Institute offering the courses as seminars on an individual basis rather than as part of a degree program. The Institute proceeded to offer the same courses, only this time titled seminars, through the Spring of 2002.
The Institute suspended courses beginning in June 2002 because of Harry Rinker’s television taping commitments for Home & Garden Television’s “Collector Inspector.” No courses were offered during 2003.
In the summer and fall of 2004 Rinker Enterprises taught six of the Institute’s core courses (CP-401, CP-402, CP-403, CP-404, CP-405, and CP 406) on the campuses of Kutztown University, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and at an extended learning center of Portland State University, Portland Oregon. In 2005, core courses and courses focusing on jewelry were offered at Kutztown University.
The Antiques and Collectibles Dealers Association, the only national association of antiques and collectibles dealers, has agreed to serve as the accreditation body for the Institute’s program.
Learn from the master himself...
HARRY L. RINKER is a national antiques and collectibles authority, editor, author, columnist, educator, appraiser, consultant, lecturer, curmudgeon and dedicated accumulator.
He is a principal in Rinker Enterprises, a firm specializing in providing educational and informational services to the antiques and collectibles field. He is the author/editor of dozens of books including his most recent, How To Think Like A Collector (Emmis Books).
Harry has a strong media presence. Rinker on Collectibles, Harry's syndicated newspaper column, receives widespread circulation. He hosted Collector Inspector, a weekly show that aired on Home & Garden Television (HGTV). He also hosts two weekly radio shows and has appeared on many television shows ranging from Oprah to Today. Whatcha Got, Harry's nationally syndicated antiques and collectibles call-in show, airs Sunday mornings from 8 to 10 AM Eastern Time. Listen to him in the Lehigh Valley on WAEB (790 AM) or on the Internet at www.goldenbroadcasters.com.
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