A definite new trend

Cutlery like this is among the items typically to be found at Hibernian Antique Fairs.

More locally items of small antique furniture have emerged as a definite new trend.

Demand is strong, but it runs side by side with a demand for good value. Dealers and auctioneers are all adamant that the price must be right if an object is to be sold successfully. Georgian, Regency, William IV, Victorian and Edwardian furniture that will fit readily into an existing home is sought after and has become relatively easier to sell. The market for side tables, hall tables, silver tables, sewing boxes, teapoys, wine coolers, card tables, compact display cabinets, credenzas and various other items of occasional furniture is surprisingly solid. But if you are hoping to find a buyer for a Georgian linen press — even though it is a wonderful piece of furniture — you will almost certainly be left whistling in the wind. Larger pieces of antique furniture are most difficult to sell.

There is no argument about the fact that the absence of speculators and risk takers has opened the door to more discriminating collectors. There are fewer antique shops with more fairs, more auctions and more auction houses engaging in private sales.

Castlecomer based Mealy’s, who will hold an architectural sale at Huntington Castle in Co. Carlow next Monday (nov 18), say that the pursuit of private sales has been their most luctrative innovation in 2013. Still in its first year of operation it accounts for over five per cent of revenues and this is expected to grow. Online sales now account for over 35 per cent of Mealy’s business and catalogues are to be printed in Chinese and offered directly to the Chinese market. On the home front a steady rise in the middle market has been noted over 2013 and in the market for contemporary art.

At Hibernian Antique Fairs, which will be in Midleton on November 24 and Kinsale on December 8, more people in their 30’s and 40’s have started showing up, particularly at larger events in Cork, Limerick and Dromoland. Organiser Robin O’Donnell said there are signs of improvement, though many businesses are not out of the woods. He advises people to invest in 18th and 19th century furniture, as it is especially good value right now. Contemporary art offers value too.

Carrigtwohill based auctioneer Denis Lynes said his star lot of the year was a bookcase from the liner RMS Celtic which sold for 22,000. The Carrigtwohill auction rooms are ideal for collection and delivery and all lots from East Grove House were sold at auction here. The next sale takes places on Saturday, November 23.


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