Never, under any
circumstances, purchase a gown without knowing its condition first.
Thousands of vintage wedding gowns are
sold on-line every year and some are sold without ever
opening the box! Please, whatever you do, run away from any
dealer that claims to have a hermetically sealed package
from 1949 to 1955. They are looking at a certificate for the
maker of the box, not the gown or the heirloom cleaning.
(The heirloom cleaning service went out of business decades
ago and any guarantee is void.) There is no reason to
leave a gown in a box and not inspect it's condition. Any
dealer who refuses to do so is acting inappropriately.
Things can go wrong during 60
years of storage.
Sublimation of Dye
Buying a vintage gown without inspecting
it in it's present day condition is gambling, without question. Most
reputable establishments won't mind if
you ask allot of questions about provenance and condition, in fact
they encourage it. If your dealer says the gown was worth
thousands of dollars decades ago yet cannot provide you with
the original sales receipt or tells you that the garment cannot be removed from
a sealed box- say no, thank you and
It's been said
that a collectable or antique typically passes through four or
five different owners from the time it first appears on the
secondary market until it reaches you.
Luckily, for wedding gowns, the opposite is true- especially if
your dealer spends a considerable amount of time searching for
gowns at private estates or buys from the original owner or bridal shop.
A dealer must know what they are selling you- otherwise they are
not practicing due diligence. If a gown is still in it's original keepsake box, it may be
suffering from insects, fold lines, mold or foxing and a dealer
should be aware of all details before they pass their "find" on
Yes, unfortunately, the older an item is,
the more important it is to have an
accurate description, which is
fundamental to your satisfaction as a buyer.
buy a gown without a detailed, written description, even if there are
several original old wedding photos. In spite of what some dealers may have you
believe, a vintage picture of the original bride is not worth a thousand words.
Demand to see the dress as it is now.
The bottom line is:
Ask as many questions
that you can!