Signs Of A New Generation Of Antique Collectors

by John Werry on April 4, 2009


A post that I did on the passing of Richard Wright in early March asked a question that  a not-yet 20-year old site visitor named Frank Merante of Francis Clay Antiques answered in an email to me.  His note gives me hope that there is a glimmer of a generation coming that is as passionate about collecting as those of the past.

I was browsing your site and read the lines “His passing has made me pause to wonder, like our world’s natural resources, are we losing all our “intellectual resources” in the antique industry at an irreplaceable rate? Who is in today’s generation of emerging experts?”

I am under 20 years old and have always been infatuated with antiques and art. From a young age I have gone to museums, estate sales, antique stores, and auctions every weekend. Often times getting dropped off by parents and spending the entire day until I got a car. People usually do not take me seriously as I am “just a kid” but I have found and successfully corrected mistakes in museums such as the Frick in Manhattan and served as a consultant for auctions. In addition I sell anywhere from 10 to 40 items a week on ebay, work at a local antique store, and as an interior decorator. Next year I am going to Europe to study art history and conservation for the next four to six years. I have turned my passion and knowledge into a more than successful part time job, making enough to buy my self a c-class mercedes at 17 and meeting countless friends along the way, including curators at the MET.

There is a younger generation out there, but unfortunately your words may ring true. I don’t think there are enough people like me to replace all the “intellectual resources” in this field.

Frank is pictured above with the Keno brothers and can be reached at

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

formulagal April 4, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Cheers to the young collector!

Living in L.A., I do see young collectors (more in their 30’s), but they tend to go for an Eames, Danish modern aesthetic.

I had a client come to my house and ask me if I had inherited all my dining room set from my grandparents! C’est la vie…


John Hutchinson April 4, 2009 at 4:59 pm

John, give that ‘kid’ my business card. I need some young clients! The average age of the collectors I work for make you look like a baby. Although, in all fairness you are “young” yourself.
To the “young collector,” good job, keep up the good work. Look forward to your success when you return from Europe. I too did a three year stint, followed my passion, and now own a small restoration studio here in the states. I followed my dream, even in the face of adversity and naysayers and am all the better for it. Plus I learned a lot about wine.
John, RVR


james conrad April 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm

LOL @ ” Plus I learned a lot about wine.”………

OH, i dunno, theres always new people comming into it, maybe the numbers are down, maybe not. I know dealers are constantly complaining about no new collectors however, it could be how they are marketing to them. What worked yesterday does not translate into what will work today.


james conrad April 4, 2009 at 5:22 pm

OOPS, i almost forgot, heres a couple of new collectors who recently started a blog.


Russell April 6, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Enjoyed seeing this as a topic of discussion. I’m a young dealer and have certainly been aware that I’m the minority. But here in New York, there’s a building interest in serious antique collecting among younger people. My shop deals in Victorian and Georgian jewelry, and a lot of our clientele are in their 20s. And they know their stuff!


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