IS THE ANTIQUE TRADE DEAD?
I recently read an article by Judith Miller asking if Ikea killed the antiques trade.
After thinking about this for a couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion, that whilst they haven’t helped the antiques trade, I do not think you can blame it on them.
The first question to ask, is the antiques trade dead?
My initial reaction as a dealer, is that no, it is not dead, but I would agree that it is very hard to run an antiques business in today’s world, especially if you do not embrace all the advances made in technology.
However, if you look at how much business is done each week throughout the world in the many antique auctions, dealers showrooms, antique centres, antique fairs and through the many antique web sites, then I think you would be staggered at the figure spent each week and therefore whilst I think the antiques trade has changed, I do not think you can say it is dead.
I speak to many antique dealers each week and whilst some are struggling, many are doing well or indeed, very well. The ones who have the right items that people want, take advantage of the technology and who work hard seem to be successful.
I do agree that tastes have changed over the last 20 years and what was popular then isn’t now. Part of this can be attributed to the Ikea style of a more modern way of decorating and furnishing your home without all the clutter (as they see it) that some homes filled with antiques could look like.
Unfortunately, I can see both sides of the argument in that I love the way that kitchens and sitting rooms have been incorporated into one, with a modern kitchen and clutter free sitting room, so that you have a more social way of living with family and friends. But on the other hand, I recently visited a client whose home was full of fabulous antiques and we spent a great afternoon talking all about the various items around the room, all of which were individually picked by the client and had a great story to tell.
Fortunately, there are still many people in the world who appreciate antiques (which now seems to include items from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s which is fine), who want to decorate their homes with pieces they have chosen for their individuality, style and quality of build, who want pictures on the wall that reflect their own personal taste and who want to collect items for their beauty and interest.
So, whilst I can see many challenges ahead for the antiques trade, I do not think that the antiques trade is dead, just changing.
Our next blog will be Why has the antiques world changed