Antiques – an investment for a lasting legacy?
Are antiques good investments? Pension investments are big in the news now that the regulations have changed and we are all more free to invest for our futures as we wish. So more people than ever are searching for the right way to make their money grow and the question of whether antiques really are good investments comes up again and again.
Hungerford Townsite put that question to Hungerford antiques specialists Richard and Barbara Mills of The Emporium.
“ As they say for all investments, antiques values can go down as well as up. With antiques you have to keep your eye on what the market is doing all the time and then you also have to consider fashion – what is becoming vogue and what is going into decline”, says Richard.
“Most of the antiques trade is finding that good quality brown furniture is seeing a glimmer of light and, we hope, beginning to be on the rise at the moment, probably for a variety of reasons. It is becoming fashionable again and much of it is still remarkably good value when compared with new furniture. The difference between old and new is that the older pieces will always have an intrinsic value while new furniture can depreciate to the point of no real value at all.”
“ We are finding that as the increasingly older population downsizes, more fine pieces of high quality wood furniture are coming onto the market and it is, at the moment, selling for very realistic prices, especially when compared with the price and longer term value of new items,” says Richard.
“Antiques, whether they are furniture, jewellery, gold, silver – whatever – are a more long term investment,” adds Richard.
“Gold items are a case in point, “ he says. “When bullion prices were very high, as they still are, so much old gold went for melting as its commodity price outweighed it’s antiquity value. A lot of antique gold has been lost this way and there is now an increasing scarcity value, so those lovely Georgian candlesticks will be going up in value again in their own right and possibly above the rising melt and bullion prices.”
“ Those who deal in diamonds tell us they are attracting more buyers and investors too,” says Richard, “ and diamonds have never really lost money. Values may sometimes be static but always rise over the longer term. Here, I’m not talking about the big chains of jewellery stores, anyone thinking of investing in diamonds would be well-advised to find a specialist dealer or a recommended independent jeweller because buying diamonds is not for the unwary.”
Art has always been a fascinating investment and here Richard has a word of advice: “Do your research, watch the galleries and art sales, study the market and the trends. If you see the beginnings of a rising trend, perhaps in one particular artist then you might buy a piece - but it is something of a punt so I’d always suggest you buy something you love and will enjoy looking at, before worrying about whether it will rocket in value – or plummet!”
It is value beyond money which motivates many people to invest in antiques. Barbara points out: “For many people it is a matter of eventually leaving a worthwhile legacy. If you buy something of beauty and quality it will always have a value of course but you also have the enjoyment of owning it and even using it – or wearing it in the case of diamonds and jewellery. Most of all, you will leave something which has value both monetarily and the joy of things that are intrinsically beautiful.”