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Thu June 20 2013 14:03:25

Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Need some good news? While it's not time to pop the champagne corks, Antiques and Collectibles Expert Harry Rinker tells us in a piece on WorthPoint that those markets are in "a tentative recovery." Here are the key takeaways from the piece for dealers and sellers of all types:

- People are buying for re-use, and decorators more than collectors are driving the market. "Dealers recognize and accept that their customers are more oriented toward decorative and reuse than collecting."

- Let the customer set the price and you will do better. "Antiques and some collectibles dealers, especially those selling material from the mid-1920s through the early 1960s, are no longer in a position to dictate to their customers what they should and should not buy," says Rinker. "Customers know what they want. The trade either supplies it or not. If not, the customers will go somewhere else."

- The high-end market is still strong. This is where sellers can still command high prices and don't need to compromise. The high-end market is one of two exceptions to the cautiously optimistic recovery, indicates Rinker. "It remains strong across the collecting spectrum. The top two to three percent in any collecting category continues to sell at top dollar. Record auction prices continue, albeit they are being paid more by investor-speculators than collectors."

(The other exception to this recovery trend is "traditional antiques dealers, who cling to the premise that their objects are still worth the prices found in decades-old printed price guides continue to fail to attract new customers. Their collector base is dying. The dealers themselves are vanishing from the show circuit.")

- In some parts of the country, younger buyers are the majority. Keep them in mind. (I think of these folks as the "mid-century modern" crowd, as they seem mad for "Mad Men"-type stuff, sharp edges and angles, and the Eames chair aesthetic). "In a conversation with Barb Stillman of The Antique Register (Arizona), she told me about an antiques mall that reported that 25 percent of its customers were younger than 30. The owner pointed out that the younger customers bought items primarily for decorating and reuse. Who cares? They were buying," writes Rinker.

What do you think about the market in your area? Is it in a tentative recovery, strong recovery, or still hurting? Harry wants to know, and so do I! Post a comment here!




Comments (4) | Permalink

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Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market   Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Fri Jun 21 09:38:09 2013

Well, this caught my eye:

"People are buying for re-use, and decorators more than collectors are driving the market."

As I'm always looking to define my target market in order to catch their attention online, this is good information. Strategy: Market to the decorator instead of the collector.

Interesting article Julia, thanks - and the click-through to the Worthpoint piece is well worth a read too!  

Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market   Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market

by: Carol This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 21 10:05:48 2013

This is a constant problem.

There have always been dealers who cling to their ''ideal'' price, even if it means hanging onto an item for years.

If you can't seem to sell an item, there are a few very common causes:

1.  It isn't something that buyers are currently looking for.  A little research into similar sold items will reveal if this is the problem.  There's usually no cure for this problem other than putting it away to see if it will become popular at a later date.
2.  The title and/or description aren't connecting buyers to your item.  Looking at how sold items are described will uncover problems of this kind.
3.  You need better pictures.  Photography classes are a business expense that can pay off in higher sales.
4.  Study the search rules of the venues where you sell online to be sure that your items are being found when potential customers search.
5.  Be sure your price isn't too far out of the norm.  If similar items are selling for $30 and yours is priced at $60, you stand a smaller chance of selling yours.  I have found that customers for antiques and collectibles don't necessarily shop by price (I often sell things for a higher price than identical items available at the same time), but sales will be affected if your prices are too far out of line with others'.

Regardless of who the buyers are (collectors, decorators, people shopping by price), your items must be found in search in order to sell.

Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market   Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Fri Jun 21 17:49:24 2013

While a sale of any kind is forward progress, the thought of some Etsian Upcycler stripping the shellac off an early 1800's highboy and painting it metalflake pink with purple polka dots does give me significant pause.  :(

Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market   Harry Rinker: Lessons from a Recovering Antiques Market

by: umeone This user has validated their user name.
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Sat Jun 22 07:41:43 2013

I find your article comforting, I'm just thrilled to know that there are still buyers out there somewhere! As time moves forward a new era is dawning, just have to think like a 30 year old with an iPhone! Oh,good grief, I just retired my flip phone for an android! I just want to sit on a beach and watch the waves roll in.



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