ways of trading
There are five main categories of trader (although some overlap):
A Living History trader then will work solely in the manner and costume of the given period, from a stall or tent which is 100% accurate to the period, with no sign of modern materials, prices etc. However members of the public are very unlikely to buy much from this category of trader, so he or she will normally expect to be paid a fee.
This is the preferred manner of trading for most stall holders. Their costume and tentage will be 99% accurate (die correct materials etc, but probably machine stitched). We call this six foot accuracy meaning that although these presentation wills appear authentic to the general public, a purist would quickly spot modern anachronisms
The goods will sold will usually be appropriate to the period concerned, but may have to be packaged and openly priced in order to conform with modern trading standards, health and safety regulations etc. Authentic traders can usually upgrade to Living History standards if these are required -but they will almost certainly expect a fee to do so
EVENT ORGANISERS PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately some unscrupulous traders will tell you that they are authentic even if they are not. We would suggest that unless you know a trader personally, or they have been recommended by an established trader, then you should ask them for a photograph of their stall and an exact description of the goods that they intend to sell. And some traders sell “plastic goods” from an authentic tent, and others may sell authentic goods from a “plastic tent”
These are traders who do not have a stall but sell off a blanket or out of a basket. Provided that they are in costume and are selling appropriate wares they can add a touch of extra authenticity to a living history event. Ideally, they should not be charged a site fee. Children make very good picage traders!
The following two categories are not to be encouraged, as they lower the quality of an event
4) CAR BOOT SALE
These are traders who sell cheap second hand modern Olde Worlde goods, often out of a dressed up gazebo shelter. They can cause a major problem to authentic traders as the public then tend to expect everything to be sold at jumble sale prices
Stalls will be made out of modern materials, and the traders often sell modern goods (ie plastic toys etc). Many would argue that these traders are not strictly Historic traders, but many people start with a plastic presentation and then evolve to the “authentic” category.
Plastic traders should always be sited separately from authentic and living history traders in order to avoid visual clashes as shown here.
Some plastic traders will try to argue that their stall is authentic due to pseudo-mediaeval trimmings. However, these still look out of place on a true historic market