Old stuff new profits: Why the antique market is heating up
It’s a great time for antiques collectors, experts say. New global wealth is spurring growth in the number of collectors. At the same time, concern over potential inflation from currency debasement is leading some investors to consider antiques as stores of value.
Plus, older collectors are liquidating their collections, bringing valuable items to market, according to Eric Bradley, editor and content director of Antique Trader Magazine and AntiqueTrader.com. Internet sites and television shows about antiques abound, as well, helping to spark interest, he notes. “There’s a very diverse set of reasons drawing a lot of attention to the antiques and collectibles market now," said Bradley in an interview with AdvisorOne. “It’s a very unique opportunity at this particular time in our history to purchase very rare and valuable items.
We expect to see that demand will only rise as global wealth increases.” One reason antiques are so popular is that the category’s definition is extremely broad. Bradley points to a federal government trade law that defines an antique as an item over 100 years old. But collectors have adopted more flexible guidelines, he says, for newer items, such as those from the first half of the 20th Century. Objects from those years are typically described as vintage or collectible. “A lot of people will also use the word ‘antique’ to describe pieces that were made in the ‘20s and, we’re generally OK with that,” he explained. “As long as people have an understanding that what they’re buying is not contemporary and that it’s old. We mainly focus on describing the pieces themselves not necessarily what the best [methods] are to classify them.
” Another factor driving interest in these objects is the broad range of collectible items, which includes furniture, art, coins, photographs, etc.
Collectors with a passion for a category probably can find a market, Bradley observes: “You’ll see people pursue New England nautical antiques, and that can range from everything from quality weathervanes, which might not be nautical in purpose but nautical in motif and decoration,” he shared.