EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2724 - January 24, 2012     4 of 5

Marketplaces Identify Top Trends for Antiques and Collectibles

By Julia Wilkinson

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Now that 2011 is over, antiques and collectibles sites are looking back and summing up the top searches and other trends for the year. Today, EcommerceBytes takes a look at Kovels, (The Internet Antique shop) and WorthPoint / GoAntiques to see what's up, what's down, and what's surprising.

Surprises and Lessons from Five Years of Kovels "Top Ten"
"I was surprised at what I found when I compared five years of "top ten,"" said Terry Kovel of, noting that "furniture, pottery and porcelain, Coca-Cola, jewelry, and would you believe Occupied Japan, have been in every year." She added, "This year, cookie jars are new to the list and so is Royal Bayreuth, bottles and Royal Doulton."

Kovels noted that of particular interest to collectors are the Royal Bayreuth figural pitchers, like one with cards and a devil handle that sold for $585 at a Morphy auction (pictured here).

Kovels Top 10 Antiques & Collectibles Searches for 2011
Cookie jars
Royal Bayreuth
Antique furniture
Antique pottery and porcelain
Antique bottles
Occupied Japan
Royal Doulton
Antique glass
Antique jewelry

The biggest surprise is that glass is number nine this year, and has never been listed before, said Kovel. "Does that mean new interest in glass, old and new? I can't guess, but the modern designers are getting bids at the auctions," she added.

Kovel said in terms of jewelry, "costume is selling at almost the price of precious jewelry," and "top-maker watches are way up (it's a man thing)."

Another surprising development, said Kovel, was that the big news in sales this year was the Asian trend: "Very high prices, way over estimate for everything old and Asian." However, she said that trend doesn't show in their Top 10 list, because Kovels does not have a Chinese category in their listings. "The biggest jump in price was rhinoceros horn carvings," she said. "In 2008, no one even listed them; now they are the lead at the auctions, selling for hundreds of thousands."

Where the Bargains Are and What's Evergreen
But there are categories for bargain hunters. Kovel said, "Furniture, except fifties and newer pieces by known makers, is way down. Ordinary 18th-century Chippendale desks - good ones worth a few thousand in 2008, now sell for about $300," she said. "Of course the very best by the very best still sells for record prices, and that is what gets the publicity," she added.

Hummel, limited editions, even Christmas plates, are very, very slow sellers, but low-priced holiday items like jack-o-lanterns and Xmas ornaments sell well, she said.

"Comic characters like Superman and robots and space toys sell well, sometimes as much as $1,000 for the rare toy," said Kovel, but "small seems out. Little English 18th-century porcelains are half what they were five years ago. So is Staffordshire. Big, colorful and "statement" pieces do well. Blenko glass, Italian glass, if big, bring high prices," she said, noting that, "Decorators like huge."

Folk art is also good if big, said Kovel. "Bottles are coming back and prices are higher this year. Advertising, if big or rare, is getting top dollar." And "anything iron is up in price, including pots and pans, doorstops, tools, bookends."

"So in general," Kovel said, "prices are down if the item isn't almost unique, very nostalgic or big."

Mid-Range Suffers Says
"I'm seeing high end and low end doing well," said TIAS President Phil Davies. "The economy is forcing people to be frugal and buy by price, or you get the upper income group that buys whatever they want and doesn't seem to care about price," he said. It seems to be the middle market that is taking the biggest hit, he added. "As an example, we do well with vintage costume jewelry but we've also sold some very expensive diamond jewelry."

Also, practical items such as dinnerware seem to be doing well, said Davies. "I think people justify these purchases by saying they are for everyday use and not a luxury item."

TIAS Top 20 Selling Antiques and Collectibles for 2011
China & Dinnerware - No movement since 2010
Glass - No movement since 2010
Vintage Sewing - No movement since 2010
Paper & Ephemera - Up from #9 in 2010
Jewelry - Up from #7 in 2010
Kitchen Collectibles - Up from #8 in 2010
Holiday & Seasonal - Down from #5 in 2010
Coins & Currency - Down from #4 in 2010
Advertising - Up from #12 in 2010
Porcelain & Pottery - Up from #13 in 2010
Vintage Clothing - No movement since 2010 Toys - Up from #15 in 2010
Memorabilia - Up from #17 in 2010
Figurines - No movement since 2010
Books - Up from #19 in 2010
Dolls - Up from #18 in 2010
Photographica - Down from #16 in 2010
Lamps & Lighting - Not listed in 2010
Music related - up from #20 in 2010
Textiles - Not listed in 2010

Some of the highlights from TIAS's 2011 list: from 2010, Jewelry moved up to #5 from #7 on the list; Paper & Ephemera moved up to #4 from #9; and Porcelain & Pottery moved up to #10 from #13. The top three, China & Dinnerware, Glass, and Vintage Sewing, showed no movement from 2010. Coins & Currency moved down to #8 from #4, and Holiday & Seasonal moved down to #7 from #5. New to the 2011 list were Lamps & Lighting and Textiles.

WorthPoint/GoAntiques Top Searches for 2011
In contrast to and, the top search for WorthPoint/GoAntiques was a coin: a 1916 Liberty Standing Quarter Dollar.

In terms of the top trends for the year, WorthPoint/GoAntiques Spokesperson Debra Young says they are seeing "a more industrial look; i.e. warehouse/industrial lighting and steel desks," and a moving away from "mid-century modern."

WorthPoint/GoAntiques Top 10 Searches for 2011
1916 Liberty Standing Quarter Dollar (link)
1957 Topps #407 Yankees Power Hitters Mantle-Berra
New Light Keeper Pro Christmas Bulb Fixer Tester
Hennessy Pure White Cognac Rare Import
Dragonball Z DBZ Saiyan Armor Replica Accessories
Fragmentary Stone Head Egyptian Carved Marble
Frank Williams CDV
Hummel figurines
Kamenstein Motion tea kettle
Roulette cigarette dispenser

Could the latter mean the angular lines popularized by TV's "Mad Men" are starting to cool down? However, #10 on the list would suggest Don Draper still has some influence on the collectibles market: a Roulette cigarette dispenser, which Young says she thinks made the top 10 "because it looks like the cigarette dispenser on AMC's "Mad Men."".

Lastly, "the Victorian look is also starting to make a comeback," says Young.

They are also seeing the repurposing of items for different uses, such as "turning steamer trunks into coffee tables, or suitcases cut to make shelving," she says.

About the Author
Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.

About the author:

Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.

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