Thanks to the continuing popularity of shows such as the Antiques Roadshow and Bargain Hunt, more and more Brits are becoming interested in the world of old and potentially valuable items.
But experts have warned antiques hunters to be on their guard after it was revealed that almost half of those sold in the UK are actually fakes.
The UK Fakes and Forgeries report revealed that 40 per cent of Britons have invested an average of £140 on an antique during the last year, but thousands never bother to check that their purchase is valid, despite the fact that almost 70 per cent said they were worried they have wasted money on a fake.
Online bidding, live auctions and antique fairs are booming, and the global market is said to be worth almost £2 billion a year, but their increased popularity has opened up a money-making opportunity for forgers.
According to the Daily Express, expert Curtis Dowling, who hosts US CNBC show Treasure Detectives, said: "It's a really big problem. We had 16 items on the Treasure Detectives series and half were fake, which is a good indication of what's going on in the market."
Mr Dowling advised antiques lovers to buy from reputable dealers, be sure to see and touch the item before purchasing, and insist on a receipt.
Have you splashed out on an antique only to find that it was a fake? Leave your comments below...