With 2007 barely underway, it’s time to make my annual predictions for the antique and collectibles market. The short version is that you can expect sterling and coin silver hollowware, regional American paintings, and figural weathervanes to go up in value while cut glass and European china will experience a downturn. Of course, I don’t have an all-seeing crystal ball but last year my company sold more than 10,000 antiques and based upon those sales and the general business climate, here are some items to keep an eye on in 2007:
Sterling and Coin Silver Hollowware
Prices paid for sterling and coin silver hollowware- pieces other than flat or table ware – were particularly strong. Large punch bowls, early mugs, and similar pieces fetched handsome prices in 2006, garnering national interest. Look for this trend to continue in 2007. Interest in Southern “coin” silver made between about 1810 to just after the Civil War is exceptionally high since much less of it was produced. Just about any silver hollowware produced by regional silversmiths outside of the northeast is desirable to collectors.
Paintings by Cincinnati Artists
Paintings by Cincinnati artists and other regional American painters also produced record prices in 2006. Marge Schott’s collection of Western paintings was exceptionally well received by the art world. “Saving the Dispatch” by Charles Schreyvogel hammered at $1.3 million, a record for the New Jersey artist. Paintings by Cincinnati’s Henry Farny and Joseph Sharp were strongly bid up, with a Farny selling for nearly $1 million, and numerous Sharp pieces stretching well into the six figures.
While not all of us can afford these kinds of prices, fine examples of paintings by lesser known Cincinnati painters such as John Hauser, Louis Henry Meakin, Charles Meurer, Thomas Corwin Lindsay and others might prove to be more affordable investments. If you’re looking for a solid investment, you simply can’t go wrong by buying good examples of their works.
Weathervanes are also hot. This was the year that these decorative rooftop adornments- long considered collectible- cracked the multi-million dollar mark for a single vane. Most weathervanes sell for far less, however, and can be purchased for a fraction of the cost. Look for unusual, full-bodied forms that retain as much of the original gilding as possible.
Cut Glass Falling Out of Favor
Not all segments of the antiques market are experiencing this kind of growth or these record prices. Cut glass, for example, has fallen greatly out of favor. If you collected examples of this beautiful glass style during the heyday of its popularity in the 1960’s and ‘70s, you’re likely to be disappointed today. A bowl worth $200-300 in the late 1960’s is lucky to fetch half that amount in today’s market. Hand-painted German and French china has similarly fallen out of favor with collectors. Whether these wonderful antiques will become popular again is difficult to predict. I can emphatically say, however, that if you enjoy these classes of antiques, they are eminently affordable today with many bargains to be found.
As always, collect what you like, learn as much as possible about what you’re interested in, and buy the best examples that you can afford.
About the Author:
Kentucky native Wes Cowan is founder and owner of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. An internationally recognized expert in historic Americana, Wes stars in the PBS television series History Detectives and is a featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.