The idea that antiques prices are moving up isn’t based on a scientific survey, however some anecdotal observations tend to make me think that the “soft” antique market may be changing to the upside.
We recently visited a New England antiques co-op that features mostly “real” antiques (as opposed to miscellaneous collections of old stuff). We were told that they had a very good spring, which translates to antiques were selling well. Admittedly the shop is in a tourist area and perhaps caters to antiques collectors as opposed to bargain hunters. But the merchandise there was amply priced, and there weren’t many “sale” signs. I only saw a few items there that I had seen offered two years ago.
Closer to the Collector’s home I followed Schultz Auctioneers three day sale that featured some large collections. I expected that it might be a “wholesale” auction given the mere quantity of items in the various collections. I was pleasantly surprised to see the prices hold up well. While I’m not an expert, it seems to me the Roycroft copper, the primitives and folk, and a mass collection of telephones did better than I would have expected. There were other collections as well, but clearly there were buyers for the extensive “supply.” As is typical, the best examples brought the strongest prices.
We suspect that that on-line auctions have broadened the pool of buyers, both locally and geographically, though the Schultz sale also had in-gallery bidding.
It seems most antique furniture still hasn’t made a full recovery, and that may be a factor of the limited audience within a “pick-up” distance of an auction hall or antique shop. Packing and shipping isn’t inexpensive.
For many of us, we’ve paid more in the past for some of the antiques we own. Because what we collect hasn’t change very much, we’ve been able to add to the collections at what have been “bargain prices” in the last few years. With a good economy emerging from the pandemic and inflation entering the picture, we suspect we will see antiques prices moving up.