Overview of the Second Hand & Collectibles Sector
The second hand market for collectable items, furniture, books and antiques, is as strong today as it has always been. Items can be classified as collectable, because of how much they are in demand by others. Antiques are generally considered being old, and may also be classified as antiques because of how rare they are. Collectable antiques are generally in high demand and may be highly sought after because of their beauty, condition, or because they complete a set of some kind that makes the set worth more than its individual elements.
Fashion and taste also play a part in how sought after antiques and second-hand items are. In recent years, it has become increasingly fashionable to up cycle second hand furniture. Items that are one person’s junk may become someone else’s most prized possession. It is not just fashion that dictates demand and pricing, the commercial climate and historic events will also generate demand for particular assets. Rare objects connected with major sporting events will create a level of demand that may be foreseen, and as such some enthusiasts in sporting memorabilia might purchase items before demand hits a peak, with an aim of owning something that will increase in value.
Retro furniture has become quite fashionable, and tables and chairs that have been well made in the 1950’s have been copied in modern day designs, thus increasing demand for the original items. Similarly, restoration techniques make it straightforward for many people to buy old rustic looking household goods. Old and used items are frequently augmented by sanding and painting. Veneers have also improved and palette choices increased. Eclectic furniture vogues have become popular, with the increase in imported objects from the Far East, and so adding second hand things to mingle with a house interior.
In recent years, people living in period houses have increasingly aspired to decorate and outfit their homes with pieces from the period in which their house was built. In the 1960’s and 70’s, it was very much the fashion to board over Victorian fireplaces and remove Georgian cornices. Nowadays, people on the whole who live in these aged houses will endeavour to recreate the Edwardian fabric of a period home, bringing fireplaces back to life by seeking out tiles from specialist second hand suppliers and reclamation yards. Modern materials for bathrooms give period looking characteristics of roll top baths and black and white tiles, and some homeowners will seek out the originals from second hand outlets.
Online image searching has made finding original features from period homes easier. Auction houses will preview details of an up and coming auction so that potential bidders can view articles in advance. Antique dealers tend to keep a close watch on items that are coming up for sale and pricing at which items are auctioned. As demand for particular parts, memorabilia, collectables, objects of art, furniture, jewellery, coins and stamps goes up and down, so will the prices offered by dealers. The higher the market interest and 'collectability' of an item, the greater the price a dealer will offer.
When looking for antique dealers, second-hand suppliers, coin and stamp dealers, it is important to research their credentials. Recommendation and reputation by association will provide some peace of mind that you are dealing with a reputable company. There are various business directories and trade associations that can help.
It is still very much a case of 'caveat Emptor' or 'buyer beware' when dealing in the second hand goods or antique markets. Undertake independent research on items and their history and provenance. Using reputable dealers with many years of expertise, or seeking out specialist second opinions will help in this research. Major auction houses have their own in house experts who undertake tests and research on items, to ensure that the origin is as claimed by the seller and to warrant that the item is authentic.
Online outlets for bidding on artefacts and collectables has increased dramatically, with ordinary people selling items and creating their own businesses from buying and selling goods. Some of these items may be antiques and other things may be things that are “preloved” and 'pre-owned', but the seller is just looking for more space or to make a bit of money by selling off some of their old possessions. Either way, it is up to the buyer to ensure that they are dealing with a reputable “dealer” and many online operations have their own rating criteria of sellers that buyers can use to assess whom they are dealing with.
Second hand and charity shops that retail second hand clothing, books and general houseware items are another sector of the second hand and collectables market. These shops operate as retail outlets in high streets all over the western world. Some charity shops in the UK have in recent years undergone something of a transformation. The attractiveness of charity shops has improved, and goods are “merchandised” to the best of the stores ability. The popularity of shopping in charity shops grows in times of austerity whilst environmental and social beliefs will also influence shoppers behaviour.
If you are looking to sell pre owned items, using a house clearance firm is a great way to raise spare cash for old things of some intrinsic value. Receipts should be given with a clear inventory of what items have been “sold” or “bought” to be taken away so that future issues over derivation are avoided.