The vote is due to be held on June 8, subject to parliamentary approval.
Ahead of this the trade hopes the current government will clarify its position on a number of key points, such as the ivory trade and Brexit concerns relating to issues including import and export taxes.
The prime minister said the decision to call an election is to bring greater "certainty and stability" during the UK’s Brexit negotiations. But reacting to the announcement, outspoken dealers, auctioneers and historians posted messages ranging from exasperation to self-promotion on social media.
Silver dealer Michael Baggott quipped on Twitter: "On the bright side it is just possible that Trump & Kim Jong Un will kill all of us in a nuclear war before we have to endure #election2017."
on the bright side it is just possible that Trump & Kim Jong Un will kill all of us in a nuclear war before we have to endure #Election2017— michael baggott (@baggottsilver) April 18, 2017
Meanwhile, on Instagram, Haynes Fine Art posted a photo of a pint of cider and said: “Snap election? Bring out the Thatchers, that'll sort it."
Others in the trade acknowledged that the political debate around Brexit ahead of the election could be divisive and split opinion among the trade. TV historian and dealer Bendor Grosvenor tweeted: "Above all, I see this General Election as an opportunity to lose thousands of followers."
Above all, I see this General Election as an opportunity to lose thousands of followers.— Dr Bendor Grosvenor (@arthistorynews) April 18, 2017
Many in the industry took the opportunity to post thought-provoking images or promote paintings and objects relevant to elections.
Lacy Scott Knight said: “Caught unawares by the snap #GeneralElection? Soliciting a Vote engraving from the painting by Robert William Buss..."
The Sir John Soane’s Museum in London tweeted "Did someone call An Election? Let the Entertainment begin.....".
Coin dealer R Ingram Coins said: "There's a general election A GREAT TIME TO INVEST IN COINS #moredisingenuousnonsense."
Auctioneer Philip Serrell decided it was time to launch his own bid for power and tweeted: "June 8th - Vote for Serrell - built on a policy of Free Chips and Red Wine (Vin Angleterre of course)."
June 8th - Vote for Serrell - built on a policy of Free Chips and Red Wine ( Vin Angleterre of course )— Philip Serrell (@PhilipSerrell) April 18, 2017
On a similar light note, it appeared that perhaps the biggest immediate impact on the antiques industry on the day of the announcement of the election was the fact BBC's Bargain Hunt was cancelled for the coverage of the General Election announcement.
Serrell summed it up with:
Politicians have a lot to answer for. https://t.co/cbvnpKhx3u— Philip Serrell (@PhilipSerrell) April 18, 2017