Photo: Flickr via boltron
As Americans work their way to the other side of the Great Recession, their nostalgia for simpler times will be the driving force behind new trends in collectibles.
Appraisal guru Lark Mason, founder of iGavel Auctions and a staple on the hit PBS series “Antiques Roadshow,” says the key will be quality over quantity in the new year.
“Only those pieces in tip-top shape and the best quality will be in demand,” he says. “Even the slowest markets have bright areas and in those, buyers will always be more interested in pieces that are the best over those that are not.”
Mason was kind enough to share his predictions for the hottest collectibles trends for 2013.
Among older men, checking the time on smartphones and tablet computers won't do. In the new year, they'll be clamoring for classic timepieces ---- especially if the art scene isn't their thing.
'Watches make sense to guys,' says Mason. 'The engineering, appearance, materials all have value and communicate something to the other members of their particular tribe and they are practical.'
Collectors around the globe who are flush enough to justify the soaring costs of modern art will flock to galleries this year, Mason projects.
'This market is international,' he says. 'The one tenth of the one percenters want the best and will pay to get it to fill all those empty walls of all those houses. This market will remain vibrant regardless of downturns in Greece or elsewhere.'
Antique wooden furniture was the victim of changing tastes in the last couple of decades, but it's likely people will rekindle their love soon, Mason predicts.
'The gradual fall-off of interest in these objects over the past fifteen years had more to do with a natural recycling of taste than a rejection of quality,' he says.
'Prices rose, buyers dropped out, new areas were discovered, and the cycle goes round and round again. Traditional 'antiques' ... are holding their own and being recognised by the astute as a good value.'
That the popularity of antique China is rapidly growing among American consumers has not been lost on Mason. He predicts we'll see a surge in demand for fragile dinnerware in 2013.
'The sheer numbers of buyers in China is staggering and the quantity of material limited,' he says.
'The Chinese are becoming ever more selective and discerning and the frothiness of the market ought to become a bit more subdued and rational with a focus on the universal criteria of collectors: quality and rarity.'
Even in the second decade of the new millennium, consumers still go nuts for furniture and knick-knacks from the 1950s and '60s.
It's one of the most economical means of 'blurring the lines between old and new,' says Mason.
'Those spikey doos and winged jackets push all the nostalgic buttons for young families putting together a new home,' Mason says. 'The material is attractive, functional, and the look is being supported by major designers with newly made objects and is relatively inexpensive, still in pre-inflation Jetson dollars. It is also rebellious enough to satisfy the need to be different from the parents.'
The recession hasn't dampened consumers' desire to add a little extra glitz to their jewelry box. In fact, people will be vying after fine jewelry and metals for more than just their glamour.
'Even in a nasty economy people want things that are pretty and what is better than jewelry, gold, silver, and platinum,' Mason says.
'And, buying such for yourself or your favourite other has the added advantage of keeping the pragmatic side of a relationship secure and happy knowing that should everything go bust, you can always hock the jewels.'
As the nation continues to grapple over the Second Amendment, collectors are still coveting military relics and antique hunting gear.
'It's not a big reach to have a buyer of a top quality modern hunting rifle make the switch to buy a great 19th century Remington,' says Mason.
'All those outdoors types buying guns means a healthy percentage are going to become collectors. In any market there has to be new blood, and firearms has it.'
No homeowner is interested in the 'grandma's living room' look these days.
Instead, consumers in 2013 will seek out pieces that add just as much function to their homes as they do flare.
'In tough economic times when it costs more to lug it around than it costs to purchase it, fewer and fewer people are going to be looking for that rusted gearbox,' he adds. 'Same with furniture. It has to make sense and have a use. Potty stools are not going to be setting the market afire even if owned by Louis XV.'