Antique Collecting

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I hope to post a new article soon, but in the meantime please do visit our Antique Collecting website.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Different Faces And Phases Of Antique Chairs

There are more than one ways to create a chair. And if we're talking about antique chairs that date far back into human existence, then we can expect to be faced with styles and designs from more than just a measly number.

The concept of chairs was first introduced in the late 1600s, during which the Pilgrims from Holland created a sort of joint stool that was reserved only for special and esteemed people. Yes, at that time, not everybody had the opportunity to sit on chairs. Chairs were a privilege, then, not the common household furniture we all have (and often take for granted) today.

History tells us that, perhaps, the first antique chair style was the Wainscot chair, which stories say was brought around by Governor Carver, who then brought it to the Mayflower. While the existence of the Wainscot chair at the time has already been verified, the real story behind it remains obscure. Whatever it was and whoever made it first happen, we are forever grateful. Imagine, if nobody had thought of making a chair in the first place, we would all be sitting on the ground until now.

From then on, as artistry advanced and other royals started to have chairs made to suit their particular style and ergonomic needs, a lot of antique chair styles and designs were born.

The Goddard Townsends of Newport, for instance, came up with chairs that were inspired by the Chippendale and Queen Anne traditions, while Benjamin Randolph made the Chippendale all the more in demand and popular when he brought them to Philadelphia.

But, perhaps, the most popular antique chair style was the Windsor chair, which came to be in the early 1700s also in Philadelphia. The first Windsor antique chair styles were meant to satisfy the lower class citizens only. In fact, they were priced so low that most households had it. And in the more affluent houses, the Windsor style chair was placed in the less intricately garbed rooms.

However, because of its popularity at the time and also due to the improvements that have been made with wood quality and carvings, and the history that went with it, the Windsor chair style is one of the most sought after pieces of antique furniture nowadays, with its value hitting impressive levels. It's amazing how much age can do to make a certain piece of object become more expensive.

There are many other antique chair styles that have been developed over the past centuries. These include the Carver chair, the Bainster-Back chair, the Hepplewhite chair, the Sheraton chair, the Maple Fancy chair, and the Hitchcock chair, just to name a few.

Each style is unique, with their prices varying according to carving and design, age, maker, and historical background. As with any other antique, antique chairs are also appraised based on these four factors.

Antique chair styles have evolved through the years. What was once a symbol of authority or affluence has now become a commonplace implement in all households all over the world. No matter the style and make, chairs will definitely hold their value based on their ergonomic function. However, if you are referring to antique chair styles, then their value resides not just on their use, but also on the stories they tell.

Please do visit our Antique Collecting website before you go

Friday, November 03, 2006

Choosing the Right Type of Antique for You

Antique collecting encompasses virtually every type of item from virtually every era in history. Choosing an area within the large field of antiques upon which to focus a collection can be a daunting task. There are so many options; it can be difficult to decide what type of antique best suits you as a collector.

If your primary interest in antique collecting is financial in nature, you will take a different perspective on decision-making than will someone who feels a strong personal affinity for a certain type of antique or time period.

Those whose primary interest in the antique field is based on the likelihood of profit will be less concerned with intangible benefits and will focus their attention on the bottom line.

Those who enter than antique field with significant resources at their disposal and who are seeking antique purchases that will serve as a form of investment will probably want to deal primarily with recognizable “name brand” collectibles that already have a strong following.

These coveted items are generally expense purchases but have a ready-made audience of interested buyers when one determines the time is right to liquidate. Examples of these “blue chip” antiques include Chippendale furniture, Tiffany lamps and other immediately recognizable antiques. These highly coveted antiques tend to increase in value consistently and are unlikely to experience major value setbacks. The admiring “fan base” of these antiques is strong and continues to grow, making them a relatively safe investment purchase.

Those interested in pursuing antiques for financial gain who are not interested or able to invest larger sums in coveted items may instead opt to pursue the antiques field with a “broker’s eye.” Instead of focusing on acquisition of particular antiques, attention will instead be paid to finding undervalued items in the marketplace that can be quickly turned into financial winners.

Those who take this “buy low, sell high” perspective will often comb smaller antique markets, swap meets, garage sales, classified advertisement leads and flea markets in pursuit of sellers who are undervaluing their antiquities. They are prepared to act quickly and have often developed a solid network of potential buyers to contact after acquiring the antiques.

This strategy can create significant financial gains. However, it requires a sharp eye and an expansive understanding of the antiques market to do this successfully over time. In order to find the undervalued items, after all, one must be able to recognize the item and know its market value. Since efforts may not be directed toward a particular niche, the “trader” must have a solid understanding of many antique types.

Some collectors will be more interested in having an enjoyable and personally enriching hobby. Although the potential for financial gain may still be a consideration, their attention is more likely to be placed upon collecting items that have a strong personal appeal or significance.

Many people feel a strong connection to particular types of items. Those whose work is in a specialized field, for instance, may have a great interest in related items through history. Those who hail from a certain area may be interested in antiques reflecting that area’s history and tendencies. Others may be drawn to certain areas of the antique world for reasons they don’t fully understand but still recognize!

Those who do not consider money the key aspect of their hobby are advised to choose a niche that is very appealing to them. They should appreciate the antiques in their niche, the history of the artifacts, the culture and time period that led to their creation and other related factors.

By choosing a subject area in which one is strongly interested, the likelihood of maximizing the hobby’s enjoyment is increased. The research that accompanies antiquing, for instance, becomes a truly enjoyable experience rather than an annoying chore. Those who choose their niche wisely gain a great deal of satisfaction from acquiring desired pieces and searching them out.

Whether you are interested in obtaining antiques for the purpose of investment and resale or are more interested in developing a long-term personally enriching diversion, antique collecting can be a perfect hobby. No matter what one’s objectives, collecting provides a means by which they can be reached.

Critical to the enjoyment of antique collection, however, is choosing the right niche in which to collect. This decision should be made after a careful examination of one’s collecting goals and personal interests. A good decision should create a wonderful pastime that can last a lifetime!

Please do visit our website Antique Collecting before you go.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

I am starting a series which I hope you will find interesting. Here is the first article in the series - there is more to come.

Why Collect Antiques?

Collecting seems to be something approximating a human instinct. People are almost natural hoarders, and collecting items of interest has long been a common past-time among individuals of almost every culture. The innate desire to accumulate and to enjoy the items acquired has led many to antique collecting as a hobby.

Collecting antiques over other options has some very unique advantages. One might be able to find other outlets to satisfy the urge to collect, but few (if any) would offer such panoply of benefits.

First, antique collecting provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with history and to learn from it. There are few pastimes that have such an enriching component. Not only does one find a way to enjoy their spare time with antique collecting, they also learn more about the past and develop a deeper appreciation for history and the people who populated those older eras. Antique collecting creates a valuable knowledge base and brings us closer to our forefathers and ancestors. It is a unique advantage to the hobby and one that should not be overlooked.

Second, antique collection offers a wonderful opportunity for financial gain. Having a hobby is, in many ways, its own reward. However, the attractiveness of a diversion is multiplied when one can actually reap financial gain through participation. Over the years, thousands of antique collectors have experienced generous profits as a result of their hobby. Savvy collectors will find overlooked items of great value or will seek out under priced collectibles in order to realize a financial gain. For many of the hobby’s participants, the quest to “buy low and sell high” is one of the most enjoyable aspects of their involvement.

Third, collecting antiques offers an ongoing diversion. No collection is really fully complete. There is always more that can be added. If one does feel their collection is whole, they can inevitably find an item or two for which they would appreciate a better-conditioned replacement.

The joy of collecting antiques is not in completion, but in the process of acquisition. Even if one does feel they have “conquered” their niche, a slight expansion in the nature of the collection can create an entirely new serious of fun and fascinating challenges.

Whether you have decided to collect antiques with an eye toward investment or purely out of appreciation for a particular subject, you have chosen a hobby that offers numerous unique and limitless benefits.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

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Art Auctions: Art Deco

In the field of modern art, art deco plays a large and impressively lavish role. The strong colors and sweeping curves lend art deco the trademark boldness that expressed much of the progress and modern advances of the twentieth century. Art auctions around the world still move many art deco pieces of various kinds. If you’re interested in collecting art deco, there are many art auctions both online and off that deal primarily in art deco.

In the twentieth century the decorative arts converged in what is known as the art deco movement, which grew to influence architecture, fashion, the visual arts as well as design. The term ‘art deco’ was derived from a World’s Fair held in Paris, France, called the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in the year 1925.

Though the movement and term comes from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the term was not widely used until the late 1960s. Especially pre- World War I Europe influenced the art deco movement, though many cultures influenced and were influenced by this art movement. Much of the world was experiencing similar shifts in modern technological advances.

For the most part, the art deco movement was brought about and inspired by the rapid advances of technological and social facets of the early twentieth century. As culture responded to these increasingly changing times, the art deco movement was an outgrowth of these modern phenomena.

Art deco is considered generally to be an eclectic type of decorative modernism that was influenced by a variety of artists and particular art forms. Art deco includes furniture, metalwork, clocks, glasswork and screens as well as paintings and other fine art types of pieces.

The art deco style is known for its lavishness and epicurean flairs that are attributed to the austerity of culture brought about by World War I. Strong patterns and bold colors and shapes were used, as were many particular motifs used universally.

For example, the sunburst motif was used in everything from the Radio City Music Hall auditorium, images of ladies’ shoes, the spire of the Chrysler Building and several other pieces of art, architecture and design. Other ubiquitous motifs found in art deco were stepped forms, the zigzag, chevron patterns and sweeping curves.

In the West, art deco lost its steam around the Second World War, but continued to be used all the way into the 1960s in colonial countries such as India, where it served as a gateway to Modernism. Then in the 1980s art deco made a comeback in graphic design. Art deco’s association with 1930s film noir led to its use in both fashion and jewelry ads.

Today art deco is revered by many and dismissed as old news and overly gaudy by others. Though it undoubtedly played a major role in art history, as with most art, individual taste frames the individual’s interpretation and like or dislike of art deco styles.

Art deco is one of the most well known art movements. This is mostly due to its wide base of influences and influenced art forms and cultures. Since much of the world was experiencing many of the same advances in technology and mass production, many of the same ideas and symbols were relevant in various parts of the world.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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Antique Collecting: Caveat Emptor

One of the most recognizable Latin expressions is “caveat emptor.” It translates to “buyer beware” and has been used in a variety of situations to express a simple idea--anyone making a purchase should be sure to be well-informed so that they suffer in a bad deal.

We often hear the expression used today to refer to situations where a great deal of money may be on the line with no real guarantee associated with it. For instance, the purchase of a car or other expensive item on an “as is” basis may warrant a cry of “caveat emptor.” Another area in which the old adage is well-suited is antique buying.

When one buys an antique, they generally make the purchase on an “as is” basis. This means they are making the purchase with no opportunity for exchange or return. The item is handed over in its existing condition and no additional guarantee or warranty is offered. This puts an exceptional burden on the buyer to make sure he or she understands exactly what is being acquired.

Why is this uniquely applicable to antiques? There are a few reasons.

First, in the realm of antique collectibles, condition is a primary factor in determining an item’s value. Thus, a chipped, dented or scratched antique may be worth considerably less than a model in better condition. Buyers must closely examine the antique to make sure its condition is sufficient to justify the asking price.

Second, originality is a highly valued characteristic of antiques. Thus, items that have been repaired or refinished may not carry nearly the value of a wholly original piece. Buyers must inspect antique buys carefully to make sure that nothing has been done to modify the original. If signs of repair or renovation are apparent, the buyer must know how those actions will impact the piece’s value.

Third, although the antique world is populated primarily by honest and trustworthy people, there is always a risk of receiving a phony or otherwise non-genuine item. Sometimes the sale of a bogus piece is an intentional act by a nefarious vendor. More often, however, it happens as the result of ignorance. Many reproductions can be quite compelling to the untrained eye, for instance. Buyers need to be knowledgeable about the kinds of antiques for which they are shopping and should be trained to spot imitations when possible.

These three elements of antique buying make the “caveat emptor” mantra an apt warning for collectors. With so much risk in the marketplace, what can an antique collector do?

First, they must learn techniques for spotting repair work and imitation products. Buyers should understand how to use long wave black lights and other tools to spot bad products.

Second, buyers should learn all they can about grading the quality of an antique’s condition. They should not take a vendor’s word that the antique in front of them is “in great shape.” They must, instead, know what kind of wear is acceptable and what types of damage will destroy a particular antique’s value.

Third, buyers should seek all available information about the antiques in which they are interested. They should strive to become experts on the antiques. A strong knowledge base will prevent many poor purchasing decisions. As an added benefit, those who are learning more about antiques in which they are truly interested generally find the research and learning process enjoyable.

This is a great advantage to the antique collecting hobby--the “work” involved can be perceived by the collector as a fun and enjoyable part of the hobby experience.

Even expert museum curators are occasionally fooled by clever reproductions. The most astute collectors sometimes make buying errors or fail to notice something about an antique they should have. Buying antique collectibles is never a completely foolproof enterprise. Although there is no way to completely protect oneself in the marketplace, but by following a few basic guidelines an antique collector can heed the warning of “buyer beware” in a way that will significantly reduce the likelihood of bad decision making.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Click Here to learn all about buying and selling Antiques & Collectibles

Some antique collectors are motivated simply by a connection to history and/or to particular items. Others, however, are also spurred by a desire to make their hobby a revenue source. Many antique collectors find themselves appreciating the pastime a great deal due to its potential financial benefit.

Antiques, after all, are a great commodity in which to invest. The laws of supply and demand tilt heavily in favor of the antique. One side of the equation, after all, is already solved for the antique collector. Absent remarkable discoveries of buried loot, there is no chance for supply to increase. As time passes, in fact, supply of any antique item is guaranteed to decline. Even assuming demand holds steady, prices should increase. In reality, however, demand tends to continue an upward climb, making the value of many antiques escalate at an impressive clip.

The cards seemed stacked in favor of the collector! If one can simply acquire a popular item and hold on to it, they are likely to eventually realize a profit. In the meantime, they get all of the pleasure and enrichment attendant to owning the antique in question!

Of course, profiting from antiques requires an ability to discern which items will retain their overall demand. For many antique investors, this means finding items that already have strong and distinguished fan bases and loyal followings. Chippendale furniture, Tiffany lamps and other “blue chip” collectibles tend to consistently grow in value, making them impressive investments.

Those who want to use antiques as something akin to an investment are often best-served by selecting already popular items with long traditions and enviable track records. One may profit from heavy investment in a lesser known item, hoping that it eventually becomes more coveted, but this strategy is less steady than selecting antiques that are already universally recognized for their appeal.

These antiques come with a relatively steep price tag and not all collectors are able to secure these items. If a “name brand” antique is beyond one’s means, does that mean they cannot profit as a collector?

Fortunately, the answer to that query is “no.” Those who approach the overall antique market with a well-trained “broker’s eye” will find undervalued antiques for sale and will nab them at low prices. They can then turn around and sell these items to others at a profit.

This “buy low, sell high” strategy does require a certain level of skill, however. One must be sufficiently knowledgeable to recognize a bargain. One must also know where to look for under priced items. The antique “trader” must also be able to find buyers after securing a bargain purchase. The quick decision making often required when in pursuit of a cheaply-priced antique requires that those embarking on this profit-making route be well-educated about a variety of antiques.

Many hobbyist antique collectors enjoy the challenge of being an antique trader. They enjoy the “gaming” aspect of searching out bargains at flea markets, garage sales, estate auctions and other locations. They appreciate the challenging of profiting from their keen eye. Even though their gains may be modest and some efforts may fall short, they still enjoy the process and it adds another dimension to their hobby.

Antiques are one of the few hobbies that create an opportunity for profit. Most hobbies can be characterized as “money pits.” One spends and spends in pursuit of a hobby. It is a revenue stream that inevitably runs away from the hobbyist. Antique collecting, on the other hand, is different. It actually creates a situation in which the hobbyist can profit.

Whether you approach antiques as a “blue chip” investor or as an aggressive antique trader, you may be able to make antique collecting a financially (as well as personally) rewarding diversion! Thousands of antique collectors have found ways to turn their hobby and passion into a real legitimate moneymaker. It may not be a foolproof investment strategy, but it is a great way to add some extra value to your hobby endeavors

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