Tuesday, January 5, 2010


In spite of the economy, antiques can still be fun and could be profitable. Here are some collectibles that seem ready to go up in price over the next few years. So go to garage sales, flea markets, malls, and shops and look around. Even if you don't spend any money, the walking is good exercise and it's an inexpensive way to spend the day. Good luck--go find a treasure.
  1. Chinese and Japanese furniture from the nineteenth century, whether dark wood or lacquered, is down in price and not selling well at auction. If you like it, buy it.
  2. Carved wooden sculpture

    Carved wooden sculptures made after 1920 are now low-priced, but they're starting to sell at top auction houses. Look for works at least 12 inches high by known artists like Hans Hagenauer.

  3. Eighteenth-century Chippendale desks with dropdown fronts are very low-priced because they are not practical as computer desks. Some desks have an open area near the drawers in the dropdown section. It can store a laptop--a new idea that makes the desk usable again. Prices will go up.

  4. Enameled metal ashtrays, bowls, vases, and jewelry were very much in style in the 1950s. They were made with colorful, often abstract, decorations. Out of style until the 1990s, they are still low-priced. Buy pieces that are covered front and back with enamel. If a copper back shows, it was probably made by an amateur. Buy signed pieces for best resale value.

  5. Japanese Kaiju

    Japanese kaiju (meaning "strange beast" or "monster") toys have been the rage in Japan for over 25 years. (Think Godzilla.) Plastic and metal toys between 2 inches and several feet tall sell in Japan and in a few shops in other countries. Early kaiju toys are selling for hundreds of dollars. As interest grows, so will prices of newer toys--the way the prices of robot toys grew.

  6. Look for old, working electrical household goods like electric fans, toasters, typewriters, telephones, television sets, computers, and even early handheld electronic games. There are collectors for all of these, usually people who like to repair the items. Often the old item is of little value until repaired, but prices are in the hundreds of dollars for the right make and model in working condition.

  7. DIY works for antiques too. Dig your collection of bottles and it is bound to be profitable. Search attics, river beds, Grandma's house and garage sales for unrecognized treasures.

  8. Furnish your garden and patio with antiques--planters, statues, pieces of old buildings, old flower pots, tools, fences, and even birdhouses and birdbaths. Prices have been going up for large statues, fountains, and urns. Gardening is another way to join the movement of "going green." A collectors garden should always have extra space near plants for collectibles.

  9. Some things seem underpriced for no apparent reason: Glidden pottery, 1960s designer furniture made of metal, 1950s wooden costume jewelry, modern-design aluminum serving pieces.

  10. Buy what you love. There is the joke of the damn fool theory of collecting: "If I was damn fool enough to buy this, there must be another damn fool who will buy it from me.


GeneMan said...

9.Some things seem underpriced for no apparent reason:

I believe there definitely ARE reasons, PEOPLE DO NOT WANT THEM!

10. The FOOL theory has been working for too many years! That's why there are so many supposed "dealers" trying to sell tables full of junk at antique shops, shows, flea markets, etc. They subscribed to your 'fools' theory! The only trouble is, the fools who may be willing to buy now, do not want to pay you what you foolishly paid for the item!

Anonymous said...

Loved this edition of Komments. I agree that there are some things it seems as if no one wants, but these things cycle.

I had to write an essay for a GED test last year (somehow I got the BA first and had to go back for high school...) on the subject of collecting: What would you collect, and why?

Collecting for resale is like playing the stock market or slot machines, other things I don't do. Collecting for love, if I can afford it, is something I do regardless to potential value.

But I answered the question honestly. If I had never collected, bought and sold, but had collected tattoos instead, I'd have a lot more tattooing and done a lot less dusting, packing and moving.

On the cash market, tattoos depreciate the moment you pay for them, from $185-plus an hour to $0 forever, but on the lovemeter, they're priceless.

Happy Collecting Everyone for Twenty Ten!


Anonymous said...

Re damn fools, too true, dat! Thanks for the giggle.