As I contemplate my garden and its weeds growing faster and bigger than ever, I can’t help but think about how strange this year has been. Most flea markets and shows have been cancelled, probably through the rest of 2020. Shops also are closed, especially the ones packed from ceiling to floor with treasures and bric-a-brac. The aisles are too narrow for social distancing. So in spring 2020, the antiques industry had to find new ways to buy and sell, figuring out what to sell and what price range will sell. Auctions are being held online, with just pictures of the items. And the changing antiques and collectibles market is now filled with lots of new people selling and buying online.
One of the more remarkable and unexpected changes is how prices have been affected. There is now an answer to the question “Will antiques and collectibles sell for higher or lower prices if sold online instead of in an auction gallery?” The answer: Higher! This is what we have been learning from the many auctions and sales we write about. (We couldn’t be there, but we have been getting the results from the experts.) Almost every auction owner told us prices have been higher this year, about 20% more than expected. Different reasons were suggested. People are bored sitting at home. They saw online auctions for the first time and decided to watch and bid. The number of bidders online has gone up for every sale, and the number of countries represented has gone up as well. Some think the new wave of people moving out of big cities has led to more sales of antique furniture. Dress codes have fallen to casual “working from home” clothes, and vintage clothes are in style and easy to find at online auctions. And then there is the new “that looks just like my teddy bear when I was in kindergarten and I have to buy it” bidder.
Most dealers also think the increased popularity of online auctions is because of the faster bidding, multiple viewing and bidding platforms, new ways to preview auctions online, and ads and social media ahead of the sale. It is more entertaining to watch an auction than a rerun of a Hallmark Christmas movie. But most of all, collectors have to collect to stay happy, and the only way to buy an addition to a collection is to search sales online.
Collectors-in-the-know keep Kovels’ annual price guides handy, whether at flea markets or shows, or while monitoring bids online. Be sure to look for our newest book, Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2021, available for purchase at Kovels.com and soon, at bookstores near you. We work hard to provide the most up-to-date and accurate prices of thousands of antiques and collectibles, and the 2021 guide includes more photos than ever. We are also excited about this year’s special center section: “Collecting Trends: Iconic Designers of 20th Century Lighting.”
Bargains are still out there! Kovels’ 2021 Price Guide will help you find them.
|Order information: Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2021 – $29.99 plus $4.95 shipping and handling.
And, as a newsletter subscriber, you will receive two free gifts: our “Fakes, Fantasies & Reproductions No. 22” booklet with clues to spot fakes at sales, and a bookplate personally autographed by Terry Kovel.
To order by phone, call 800-303-1996.