As regular visitors to this site are aware, I’ve been watching the health of the Victorian antique market recently for concrete examples of this trend and I thought I’d take another quick glance at some fresh auction results that speak to the decline that we’ve been seeing lately.
I’ll open by saying all is not in the dumps. There is money still out there aggressively chasing select items, but I can tell you that there is no distinct pattern that we can extract. Items such as the late English Victorian Jockey Scale armchair shown at the top of the page surprised me as it reached $10,000 via 25 bids. Were you to remove the scale looking something like an antique sewing machine fastened to the side, the chair is fairly unremarkable itself.
Some items are seeing better prices than from only a few months ago, so the market is certainly schizophrenic. This Laminated Rosewood bed by John H Belter saw a $19,000 price tag in February but a comparable bed recently fetched $29,000 at auction. While the overall trend is down, a confluence of buyers at any moment in time can drive bidding up.
I was recently left a bit queasy by the $1,500 that this cabinet fetched at auction. Months ago, in a stronger market, this cabinet would have fetched $4,500 to $6,000.
Pieces by J & JW Meeks appear to be caught in a time-warp, fetching near their usual pricing as if they are in a different market altogether. This Meeks “Hawkins” pattern Rococo chair recently fetched $5,000, albeit at the low end of the range.
I recommend that you pick up a copy of this weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal or read the article here on the state of the antiques market, in general. Aside from being an interesting article which addresses the broader antique market and not just the niche that we favor on this site, RareVictorian.com is also mentioned.
The article’s premise is that due to shifting tastes and economic pressure on consumers it is creating quite the buyers market for antiques. I, for one, have been taking advantage of it whether my budget should be allowing me or not.
I was the recent high-bidder on this 3-piece Egyptian Revival set by Pottier & Stymus with marked mounts bearing “P&S” to confirm their maker. It also appears they may have their original upholstery and purportedly came out of a famous Tarrytown castle formerly known as Carrollcliffe but known today as Equus. I’ve never been so excited in my 4 years of collecting and will be picking them up tonight.
As I have captured the process of my recent Merklen Brothers restoration in high-definition video, stay tuned in the months ahead for the journey of restoring these Pottier & Stymus chairs captured in another video series on this site.
There is no recent auction activity on this fairly well-known chair design so I can’t compare the price I paid to “typical” auction levels, though I can compare it to retail levels of other comparable Egyptian Revival sets by P&S at $29,500.
As you can see, I am availing myself to the current pricing trends and will probably be curbing my sales in the meantime.
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