We all know that the market for antiques and collectibles is constantly changing. While some pieces have become harder to sell or decreased in value, there are those who argue that the treasures of our parents and grandparents have no place in the 21st century. The Depression-era and post-War furnishings and collectibles that so populated our childhoods, some say, do not have value to younger generations. Our parents and grandparents worked so hard to buy and maintain the items that have been passed down to us, but could it be that younger folks simply don’t see the value in these items? Or is the issue more to do with the lifestyle of downsizing, small homes, and decluttering our lives down to a minimalist’s dream?
Experts point to decreased prices, goods turned away at resale and antique shops, and the general refusal of the next generation to take on the cut glass, chinaware, and Drexel sofas that were once so popular. But, each market is different. It’s true that your great aunt’s gold-rimmed teacups might be not be worth much anymore, depending on the maker, and that is a function of a change in the formality of our lives. But, there are still plenty of older items that carry good market value.
Some items have value decade after decade, even in fluctuating markets. Quality pieces like handmade furniture, wool rugs, and well-framed fine art usually can attract buyers in any decade. While tastes may change, these finely-crafted objects retain their physical integrity and durability beyond their newly-made counterparts. And, they can often sell at reasonable prices- even in depreciated markets.
Even if you need more space and less clutter, there are a few things to keep in mind. Well-maintained items always have a better chance of selling, so making sure that art is framed properly and that furniture is properly looked after are to finding new homes for these old valuables. And keep in mind that even if a treasure isn’t accepted by an antique dealer it might still bring a fair price at a consignment store or vintage shop.
Pieces from childhood will always have a emotional element for your life, but figuring out what to do with them once it’s time to downsize can be worrisome. Realizing what pieces are truly important and joyful can help you streamline your collections, but special family heirlooms should be given the utmost care. When “shopping” for a relative to take some family heirlooms off your hands, remember that the stories that connect us to our families are often what make the objects so important. The history of an object is no small part of what gives it value.
Antiques and vintage items are only a dying genre if we let them pass through our hands without assigning to them their rightful value and sentiment. And, let’a never forget, even as some older items physically deteriorate or become out of fashion, the newer relics from our modern age become collectible and so the market continues to change with each passing year.