how can a year go by in 6 months?
Another year end. The older you get, the faster the time goes, and I sure believe that!
Hard to believe another year has gone by so quickly…let alone another decade!
This will be remembered as a year of economic recession, but I had the best year of business ever. We deliberately did fewer sales, but managed to increase the yearly sales total by 14%. Simple formula. Fewer auctions, but larger auctions. The average sale was over 700 lots, the average attendance at each auction increased by over 30% from 2008, and the average price per lot increased by over 40%.
Our website traffic increased dramatically this year. Over 40,000 visitors to this site. Many new people out to our auctions, and more younger buyers looking for quality pieces. A good auction still brings in the buyers. Good items still bring good money.
I felt a little apprehensive telling people I had my best business year ever, because this after all was a period of economic recession. I don’t want anyone thinking I somehow capitalized on anyone’s misfortune. However, in looking back over the past year, I don’t believe I had any consignor selling out of economic necessity. People sold because they were moving, downsizing, changing décor or settling an estate. This year was no different than any other year. There just was a lot of good merchandise coming my way, and I was more than happy to sell it. Coming up 14 years in the auction business, and a solid reputation is paying off.
I also tried to contribute to the economy. I bought a new van (well at least new to me), and we built an all season sunroom onto the house. I went into as much debt as I could afford, just to help out!
In general I think the antique business had a solid but not stellar year. I deal with a lot of dealers and the response I got from most dealers was “business was ok”. Most continue to buy and sell, and the vast majority of dealers are in the business because they love the business. Anyone who gets into the antique business thinking they are going to make a lot of fast, easy money, will quickly move on to another type of business!
There has been much talk about fluctuating antique prices. Indeed some potential consignors I dealt with, were very surprised when I told them what I thought their items might sell for. Many people bought during the peak a few years ago, and now find they are selling for much less than they paid.
However, concerning furniture, let’s look at it this way. If you paid $500 for a new piece of furniture 10 years ago, what would you expect to get for it now? Almost nothing. If you paid the same price for an antique piece 10 years ago, got years of practical use out of it, and now sell it for what you paid for, or a little less, in my opinion that was still a pretty good deal. On the flip side, if you bought up large quantities of something when the price was high, and stored it away assuming it would only go higher…than perhaps that wasn’t such a good move. Remember, over 80% of the antique market is décor driven. Tastes change, demand changes and prices go up or down.
Buy your antiques because you like them, have a practical use for them and will enjoy them, and I think you will never go wrong.
So this year I am anticipating another good year. I am going to do everything I can to make sure that happens! I will provide the best service I can to consignors, and hopefully that will bring out the best merchandise I can find for buyers. Keep the buyers happy, keep the sellers happy, and that will keep the auctioneer happy!
Thank you for a great year, and I look forward to 2010, and wish you all the very best!