Whats Hot & Whats Not: Antiques as Investments by Jerry Shroud

Various categories of antiques go through cycles of popularity based upon design trends and their impact on consumer taste. As a result, some styles which sold for top dollar several years ago are now fetching much less in today’s market; even half what these pieces formerly garnered. By contrast, certain items have seen an increase in prices due to renewed interest. For true collectors or those looking at antique purchases as investments, fluctuation of pricing due to popularity presents a great opportunity to buy when a given style is out of vogue, or the prospect of selling for a higher profit when a certain style is “in.” Following is a synopsis of what’s currently “Hot” and what’s “Not” in the antique world.

Hot: Classical styles, such as Sheraton and Apple and white, remain popular with decorators and collectors, due to their ability to blend in well with both traditional and contemporary environments. Most popular forms are chairs, sideboards and brandy boards.

Not: Country and Primitive Furniture. The heyday of country and primitive antiques peaked around the late 199Cs and since that time prices on certain country pieces such as corner cupboards and blanket chests have waned. For this reason, collectors of Country styles are snapping up bargains in the current down market for Country.

Hot: French and Continental furniture has seen a resurgence in the last several years.

While the heavily gilded furniture popular in the early 1990s has fallen out of vogue, Country French furniture and accessories started gaining popularity about ten years ago and has remained strong. More recently, classic French antiques, such as marble topped demilune chests, and French chairs have gained in popularity due in part to their easy incorporation into contemporary decors.

N ot: Victorian Furniture. At this time, Victorian is possibly the least sought after category of antique furniture, which presents a great buying opportunity for collectors of this style of furniture. Victorian sofas, chairs, turtle top tables and more are at an all time low in pricing.

Hot: Mid Century Modern. Formerly something that antique purists snubbed their noses at, Modernism has earned its rightful place as a period furniture style. Modern bookcases, desks, tables, chairs and sofas are fetching never before seen prices.

N Ot: Mission. For Modernism’s twentieth century cousin Mission, pricing is really depressed and there are great values to be had. Originating in the early 1920s and popularized by Stickley, Mission style furniture peaked in the mid to late 1990s and has since seen a downward spiral.

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