How To

Antiques: The Eye Candy of Investments

Many people consider investing boring. In a sense, it can be. If you don’t have a fever for The Street, you aren’t going to get much out of stocks and bonds other than cold, hard cash. While it’s hard to knock a good return on your investment, some people prefer to put their money in places where it can be enjoyed while it accrues value. The world of antique investing is the perfect market for someone who wants to look at their investment and get joy from it, other than increased value on a balance sheet.

Before You Invest in Antiques

Before you invest in antiques, you need to know the basic lay of the land. Antiques are highly sensitive to market fluctuations, making them a very high-risk form of investing. Whenever you acquire a new piece, you should always buy something that you like and expect to never make a return on your investment. Thus, antique investing is something you do because you love antiques, not because you are looking to make fast money. Instead, you should just hope for the happy accident of acquiring some pieces that are highly collectible. You shouldn’t use antique investing to secure your financial future. In general, you should limit your antique investing to 10 to 15 percent of your overall portfolio.

How To Invest in Antiques

Now that the tough love is over, it’s time to learn about how to invest in the antique market. The key to investing properly is to first educate yourself about the market. You need read books, but you also need to be in the trenches at antique auctions and road shows. Learn about fair prices, but also about what’s actually rare and what’s just cool and old. Focus your educational energies in a few areas that you appreciate and expand from there.

Don’t forget to research antique dealers. Due to the nature of the antique market — the specialized knowledge required to know the difference between a truly exceptional piece and an also-ran — it’s easy for dealers to fleece uneducated customers. Find a dealer with a good reputation who is happy to educate you as you make your way into the world of antiques collecting. Having a respected dealer also makes your life easier when you go to sell the piece. Your antique will have his explicit seal of approval as a bona fide original, increasing its value on the open market. Talk to other antiques aficionados at the shows and conventions to see who they like dealing with.

Before you go spending money on antiques, take a look at what you have laying around the house. As anyone who has ever seen Antiques Roadshow knows, there are tons of priceless artifacts laying around people’s homes just looking for a buyer. You can convert these into cold, hard cash to pay bills or to begin your foray into the world of antiques investing.

How To Sell Antiques

Of course, an investment only really has value when it comes time to sell. Otherwise, it’s just an asset on a ledger. So, when is the best time to sell an antique? When you’re tired of it, basically. You can watch the market for fluctuations, but just as the best piece to buy is the one you like the best, the best time to sell the piece is when you aren’t quite as infatuated with it as you once were. Before you sell, do some research on the same, or similar, pieces and talk to your antiques dealer. Dealers generally expect you to name your price. If you want to change the piece out for something else, but don’t particularly care about making cash off of it, talk to local antique dealers about making a trade. Many of them can help you exchange the piece you were once in love with for your newest infatuation.

The Beautiful Investment

Again, don’t make any long-term plans for the future based on your antiques collection. Just set aside a part of your portfolio to invest in things you have an interest in. If they turn a profit, consider it a handsome windfall that came out of something you would have purchased anyway.

Nicholas Pell enjoys his collection of vintage clothing. It will probably never be worth much.