“Come Grow Old with me. The best is yet to be” (Wordsworth). Antiques have sent me that message since the day I started collecting and selling them. Of course, you might not think Antiques are your cup of tea. But all antiques don’t need to be boring, dust collectors or old-fashioned pieces of tat. Strictly speaking antiques have to be at least 100 years old, but of course beautiful collectables can be any age.
Antiques are definitely my cup of tea! What I find fascinating about them is the history behind the item. For example, in the photo there is a porcelain plaque with a portrait of a woman. It’s beautiful in its own right but the history of it is fascinating. The woman is Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier De Breteuil, Marquise Du Châtelet. Who? This lady was a rarity in her own lifetime being a French mathematician, physicist, and author during the Age of Enlightenment. Her most celebrated achievement is considered to be her translation and commentary on Isaac Newton’s work Principia Mathematica. There are very few portraits of her and for this beautiful piece of art to have survived in its entirety since the 18th Century is remarkable.
Just because something is old, or is precious to you as it has been handed down through your family ‑does not necessarily mean that is worth a great deal of money. However, good quality antiques and collectables are always great investments. Antiques might not be the most conventional way to make money but, provided that you know what to look for, they can provide potentially impressive long-term returns. Like any investments they may dip from time to time, but quality art and antiques generally hold their own and return a profit.
Word of warning : some of the popular TV shows about buying and selling antiques would lead you to believe that’s is easy to negotiate a bargain. For instance often the seller or shop owner agrees an unrealistically low price. Then the buyer makes profit further down the line from the item. This is somewhat misleading, if you as a potential buyer make me an offer of £100 on a £1000 item – you will be sorely disappointed! TV Shows put too much emphasis on what items could sell for and not enough on encouraging genuine interest in them.
Written by Stephen J Worobec who is the founder of CHAFFER Antiques