As an Art and Antiques Appraiser, Dealer and Collector, I am frequently asked by my Clients, “What should I collect right now that will increase in value in the future”? Although very few of us can afford to invest in Faberge Eggs, Rembrandts or Van Goghs, there are many fine pieces for sale on the International Market that are currently undervalued and available to those of more modest means.
The first thing that I would recommend is 18th and Early 19th Century English, French and American Furniture. It is currently out of fashion amongst the young, hip and trendy yuppies, who dismiss it as “boring brown furniture” and who prefer to fill their Lofts and Apartments with overpriced modern leather, chrome and glass which will be worthless in 20 years. This means that 18th and Early 19th Century Furniture can now be bought for a mere fraction of it’s true value and unlike the modern tat that is now in fashion, it will actually appreciate in value over the years to come. A few smart young people in London, Paris, New York and L.A. are now beginning to realize this and expect prices to start rising as these new Collectors begin to enter the market.
There are also recent signs of a new and fast-growing trend for 18th Century and Early 19th Century English, French, Chinese and Japanese Porcelain, especially Blue and White Porcelain and Imari, which are suddenly showing up in all the fashionable Interior Design magazines. Right now they can be bought in Auctions, Estate Sales and Flea Markets for literally pennies on the dollar, but as more new Collectors develop an appreciation for these undervalued bargains the prices are going to rise dramatically. With the recent rise of China and India as new power-players in the global word economy and the overnight creation of a whole new entrepreneurial class of rich Chinese and Indian billionaires and millionaires, demand for Asian Art and Antiques is steadily rising. I particularly recommend 18th Century Chinese Export Armorial Porcelain and anything with an Imperial provenance, as well Mughal and East India Company Portrait Miniatures, Agra Rugs and 18th Century Anglo-Indian Ivory Furniture and Boxes, which are still relatively inexpensive, but which can be expected to command very high prices in the future due to increased demand.
I have also recently noticed a sudden dramatic spike in prices at Auction for 18th and Early 19th Century English Silver and Old Sheffield Plate. Georgian and Regency Silver, particularly by the Bateman family and Paul Storr, is suddenly starting to come back into fashion and recent prices for Old Sheffield Plate at Auction, especially anything by Matthew Boulton, has been fetching prices that are double or even triple their reserves. The time to start collecting is now.