It’s A Changing Antique Market

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August 26, 2015
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If you have attended our auctions, you know we always offer a large quantity of items, in every sale. At least 500 lots on average. You might wonder “does he ever turn anything down ?” The truth is, I have to turn a lot of stuff down each and every week. Items that are not old enough, or collectable enough, for our antique auctions, and items that just don’t sell for enough money anymore, to make the handling of them feasible. Recently, in just a little over one week, I turned down 9 bedroom and dining room suites. Some contemporary, some antique, but none of them worth handling anymore. In fact, I have promised myself, not to accept any more dining room suites into our auctions. The last three antique auctions, have included a very good dining room suite in each auction. I can’t sell them as a set, and then I break them up, and each piece sells for very little money. None of the sets have totalled $500, and with the last set, we could only sell the table and chairs. So two big pieces came back to my storage, and we will try again. So that’s it, no more. It’s not that I am getting picky, or lazy…but there is just no point in bringing items to auction, that people are no longer interested in buying. It’s sad, but some pieces are rapidly heading toward no value at all. I hate disappointing people when they call, and I know some are desperate to get rid of their items, and I do feel for them, but I can only continue to succeed in this business, by getting the items people want. It’s simple supply and demand, the age old adage, when it comes to selling. So the next question I get from many people is…”well then, what is selling?” This is the point when I can be optimistic. I believe there will always be a demand for antiques and collectables. How they are being sold changes, and what people want changes. However, our auctions still bring out good crowds, and when you have the right items, they will sell. I took what I considered to be a good piece, to a dealer today, and without hesitation, he told me he would be at the auction, and he would pay $800 for it…maybe a little more. I’ve known him for years, so he was comfortable telling me what he would pay. Most wouldn’t. However, the point is, the piece is good, the dealer is willing to pay a good price, because he knows he can easily sell it. The market now is strong on toys, advertising, primitives, cast iron, country pieces, good original artwork, industrial style pieces, good early electric lighting…and as always, the unique and unusual pieces. When you have what people want, they step up to the plate. However, I can’t sell them what they don’t want. I would be very rich if I could. I can point out the merits of the piece, I can even fall back on the old line about what it used to sell for, but if they don’t want it…we are dead in the water. However, I don’t want to discourage you from calling me with items to sell! I need and want the right pieces, and I can usually make you pretty happy if you have them. But, and this is sometimes the tough part…when you call (and please do), I will have to be honest with you. I won’t be rude, and I won’t be harsh, but I will have to be honest. After 30 years in the antique/auction business, I feel this is what I have to do to be fair. Just don’t shoot the messenger.

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