Skip to main content

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!

Popular posts from this blog

Antique Wardian Cases

When I moved into my present city apartment, a mere 680 square feet,  Things had to serve a purpose. No longer could this antique wardian case hold trinkets for display, it had to be functional. So I gave up a rather large chunk of my micro kitchen to grow fresh herbs. I figure it is a fair trade off. I have a full spectrum vita light shining on the plants and they seem to do quite well in there. I adore wardian cases, terrariums and the like. They were a fixture in the Palace of Versailles like the one above, and later the Victorians made great use of them when it was discovered that they could successfully transport rare species of plants home from  around the globe. I thought I would share some pinned photos of various styles.. Imitation cases are usually zinc and plexiglass ,like this one I spotted at a local market. You can tell the age of a real one by the thickness and color of the glass.The glass will most often be 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch. They are always quite

Southern Bacon and Crawfish Cornbread Dressing

Imagine you are dining outside at Blake Shelton's house this Thanksgiving and deep frying some big turkeys. A crawfish dressing would probably be on the menu. Deep fried turkeys and outdoor dining on Thanksgiving day is very popular in the South. And while people don't wild catch crawfish like they did a century ago, crawfish are always popular on the menu. Here I have  paired it with bacon, corn, mirepoix,and jalapenos to give you a dressing with real local flavor. Here is what you need: 5 cups crumbled cornbread 1 1/2 lbs  boiled crawfish tails ( frozen is fine) 10 ounces bacon, cooked and coarsely crumbled 12 ounces yellow corn 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion 1/1/2 cups chopped celery 1/1/2 cups green red and orange bell pepper 1 jalapeno ( optional) 2 eggs beaten 2 cups chicken stock salt, thyme, and sage to taste. Fry your bacon until it is ready to crumble, remove from pan and set aside. Saute the mirepoix, (onions ,peppers and celery) corn and jalap

How to Restore Old Brass Without Losing Patina

Brass is really trendy right now. Much of the home decor brass commercially available is cheaply made and will not retain it's beauty long. But brass made in the first quarter of the 20th century and earlier, develops an exquisite patina. Assuming of course that it has had reasonable care throughout it's long life. Sometimes, a good piece of brass will have just a tiny bit of verdigris, that is the crusty blue green stuff caused by oxidation and tells you corrosion is setting in. I see this a lot on furniture with brass mounts, lamps, chandeliers and light fixtures. Most brass tutorials give directions only on bringing brass back to it's super bright finish. Many antique dealers restore brass to it's bright finish, removing the patina and then apply a commercial solution to darken it again. I can always spot those. They never look quite right. There are some pieces that devalue when you remove the patina.  Natural patina enhances the beauty of a piece, like this cl