Thoughts on the passing year

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January 5, 2016
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I noticed a big increase in the number of on-line auction companies. Not a direction I am interested in going at this time. I am an auctioneer…I love live auctions...not ready to give that up to spend more time sitting at a computer! Furniture prices continue to be soft with the exception of mid-century modern…that market is super hot! When someone calls me with a piece of teak, I tell them to look for a signature or label. If it’s a name you can’t pronounce…I want it! Crystal, pressed glass, depression glass…in fact most glass is still soft in price, with the exception of vintage pyrex, jadite, corning ware…colourful cookware is still strong. Coal oil lamps are definitely down…I am selling some of them for less money now, then I was paying for them in the 1970’s! Again there are exceptions, and that is the Aladdin lamp market. Good Aladdins are still very strong in price. Gingerbread clocks and grandfather clocks are soft, but good mantel clocks are still in demand. Good Canadian wall and mantel clocks still desirable. Porcelain advertising signs still continue to be very strong, as well as old toys, almost any advertising, country items, cast iron, primitives and boxes, and of course the unusual, odd ball items. Dining room and bedroom suites can be a problem for us. I tried three good dining room suites this past year, none of them totalled more than $500. We cannot seem to sell them as a set, so we offer the pieces on choice, and prices still low. I don’t accept them into the auction anymore, because the handling and transport ,is just not feasible. I feel badly when I turn them down, in fact I just turned a set down this morning, but I cannot make a living trying to sell items people no longer want. Of course there is a bright site to the current antique market. As auctioneers we often slip into telling the crowd how much a certain piece may have sold for ten years ago, and now we are only getting a fraction of that price, etc., etc. However, you don’t hear an auctioneer say “ten years ago we were giving this away and now look at the price we are getting!” The market changes, and prices fluctuate, but there is still a demand for antiques and collectables…you just have to have the right stuff! To understand the antique market, you have to understand the demographics of our society. The baby boom generation, and our parents, drove the antique market in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. The largest generation ever, in general, was very much into antiques and collecting. It was prevalent in media, advertising, artwork etc. Now those two generations are downsizing, or settling a family estate, so there is a large quantity of antiques coming onto the market. The children and grandchildren of those two generations, usually don’t have the same tastes as their parents and grandparents. Therefore, the softening of the antique market. Not to mention younger people living in smaller homes and condos…that’s why Ikea is so successful in selling furnishings for smaller spaces! However, lets look at the bright side to the antique market. You can now buy great furniture at very reasonable prices, and if you love antiques, this may be the best time to buy! Also, the rare and unusual pieces still command strong prices. A very rare, amber beaver sealer recently sold for $16,240 (includes buyer’s premium). So yes, the money is still out there! 2016 is going to be another interesting year. I hope you make our antique auctions a part of the upcoming year!

Check out this video of some of the 5000 antique pieces we sold in 2015

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