Monday, June 21, 2010

The rebound

It seems that the market has turned a corner. Over the past several months, we've noticed an uptick in the number of folks at auctions and shows, but more importantly, there seems to be more bidding and buying going on...and the bidding and buying feels less hesitant, even enthusiastic. There are still occasional soft spots, to be sure, but overall, folks seem excited to be buying antiques again.

That, of course, does not mean that we're anywhere close to the market of the 1990s. By now, we all know that was a bubble and the bubble has burst. It may take a long while for prices to get back to those levels, if they ever do (unless driven there by inflation). And even if they do, trends are changing. Furniture, particularly "brown furniture", even if very good, can still be a little hit-or-miss at auction, but "smalls" are still doing well. This is most likely because veteran collectors can always find room for another redware plate or another folk-carved bird, but one can only have so many corner cupboards.

Are you noticing this resurgence where you are??


james conrad said...

Yeah, well, as a brown furniture/ painted furniture guy i dunno about a rebound. The last piece i got was a period boston william & mary walnut gateleg dining table with a restored top (auction speak for replaced top). Typically these go for 3-5k at auction & if the top is original, double that and up.
I won it at $1200 plus BP or around $1500, a very good buy. The date of the sale was Feb 6th 2010 when much of the northeast was shut down due to snow storms. So i figure i got it so cheap because many collectors were not online bidding on some old table when there was no power or heat in their homes.

Bottom Line? i have no clue but would say its a very good time to buy "brown/painted furniture".

Brittany said...

I am new to antiques. I opened a booth six months ago in a small struggling antique store. My sells could not feed a family but the booth gives me an excuse to shop. I am hanging in there because I have been told that the industry is down 80%. I am one of a few that is acutually making rent plus. I have found that my shabby chic and decor items sell better than my large furniture pieces and antiques. The store I am in is even considering changing their business model and no longer advertising as an antique store.

Hollie and Andrew said...

It is definitely a buyer's market, but prices are better than they were 10 months least what I'm seeing.

Brittany-you hit upon a good point. I think one key to the continued regeneration of the antiques industry is to not just focus on collectors. There are tons of folks out there who might buy antiques but will never be collectors. We need to find ways to lure them into shops and shows...and that may include not using the word "antiques."

Author said...

Changes to both our retailing as well as marketing skills will be critical in the coming years. It would be beneficial to study large retailers such as restoration hardware to weigh in against the competition on the retail level.

Merchandising will also be key. The market also seems to be breaking into the auction buyers and the retail buyers from what one can see. Dealers need to actively create new interest - everyday - right from the on street level.

Hollie and Andrew said...

True enough. In a world dominated by slick marketing, the antiques biz needs to catch up.