West Surrey Area
Museums & Art Galleries
of the lecture given by Mark Hill
on July 27th 2016
Mark Hill – antiques expert, author, TV presenter and
Antiques Roadshow stalwart - came to talk to us about the antiques
market, and was a charming, knowledgeable and engaging speaker.
His introduction presented a picture of a changing market for antiques
over the last 20 years, driven by new buyers, post IKEA, who mix and
match, using objects rather than just displaying them.
There is never a better time to buy than now, as demand has
dropped. Therefore, an elegant Regency sofa will cost less than a
modern John Lewis sofa, and will hold its price. Buyers like the
history of antique furniture, as every object will tell a story.
Bear in mind, too, that the purchase of an antique represents “green”
recycling at its best. The cost today of replicating antiques
would be enormous.
However, because the market is fickle, some antiques will not sell, a
good example being the blue and white meat platters which once adorned
many a Welsh Dresser. There is just no demand for them
anymore. On a practical note, the wonderful antique bureaux can
be acquired at a reasonable price, as they cannot accommodate today’s
computers – they are not useable in the 21st Century! Louis XVI
chairs go in and out of fashion – in the trade they are known as “Louis
Chinese buyers are interesting; a recent sale of a Chinese porcelain
vase achieved a sale price of £53million. There is huge wealth in
China, and a great demand for buying back old Chinese antiques,
returning them “for the benefit of the State”. This provides an
interesting contrast with Communist ideology!
There is intrinsic value in portable
antiques, such as $1million diamond rings, but the value of Georgian
silver teapots must be achieved by melting them when the value of
Mark offered us some winners and
losers. Mid-century modern furniture has risen by 300%, but
Edwardian knee desks have lost 50%. A Star Wars toy, carded and
in mint condition, bought in 1981 for £1.50 was sold in 2016 for
£15,000. In contrast, cowboy memorabilia has virtually no value –
who of the modern generation remembers Gene Autrey?!
Mark had bought four items from local charity shops in Cranleigh.
He valued all at more than he paid for them, the most valuable being a
mid-19th Century decanter, bought for £4.50 which he valued at
£60.00. Food for thought as we scan sale items in Oxfam!
An outstanding talk from Mark Hill, which everyone seemed to enjoy.
Related Link (opens in new windows):
Mark Hill's website