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Antiques as Investments

You may think that in order to consider an antique as an investment you have to spend thousands of dollars....
Totally not true. When I first began collecting, part of the incentive was that an antique would increase in value versus that sofa from Rooms to Go (which will end up in the city dump at some point). It was a good place to put my money. When the economic downturn happened, as bad luck would have it, not only was the economy bad, but I lost everything I had to identity theft. My antiques business, my savings, my personal bank account and sadly I had just cashed out my 401K life savings and put it in my savings account for a couple weeks while I looked at reinvesting it...I lost everything.
I will spare you the gory details but suffice it to say I still had bills and a roof to keep over my head,and no income, no way to make income, no savings..nothing, everything was gone in the blink of an eye. The attorney general's office was most helpful but they didn't pay my bills. And so I sold my personal antiques...

Bronzes, engravings, rugs, chairs, tables, it all was sold piece by piece during the fall of 2008. Lay offs were happening in droves, the stock market was plummeting and people were not buying ANYTHING, much less furniture and art...
Not only did I find buyers, but everything sold at a tidy little profit. I was able to pay my bills and I learned a very very very hard lesson about ID theft.. Luckily, antiques pay a much better dividend than a savings account and often better than stocks. Had I not had antiques, I honestly don't know what I would have done. My personal antique collection kept me afloat for 7 months, it was heartbreaking to sell my favorite pieces. The engraving above I could barely part with, but it was some consolation that it was acquired by a famous fashion designer and I know it is well cared for.
For myself, I only kept an early 1800s  French chair  an 18th century side table, a French canape' and a couple Persian rugs.
Everything I sold, while at a profit, was still an investment for the buyers. One tiny piece of  antique jewelry brought me a profit of 200 dollars. I was happy with that, and considering the economic times we were in then, I was happy it sold. But today if the buyer were to sell it, their profit would be closer to 2000 dollars. I share this dark time in my life so you will realize that every time you buy an antique, you are investing your money, not throwing it away.

You don't have to buy high end to buy antiques. Even smaller ticket items, if in good condition will increase in value.  Everything from  baseball cards to collectible coins, engravings, porcelain,silver holloware, jewelry and most art.But if you are buying high end pieces know your seller.

 If you don't know your seller, get an appraisal in writing if you are not confident of your own knowledge. Getting to know antiques dealers is always beneficial as they can look out for specific pieces for you.

A well curated collection that you have gathered over the years will sell well, But having a well curated collection is not necessary either.
Just buy what suits your fancy, take care of it and it will reward you when and if, you decide to let it go.


buzzardair said…
Very good advice. Thank you!

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