Articles & Valuation News

How to Value: Furniture
As something in common to both the ultra-wealthy and the modest, furniture ranges in value as much as any antique. It is no secret that the current antique furniture market is not strong, but many observe that the best pieces continue to sell well. ‘Brown’ furniture has not been popular amongst interior designers in recent years but does show some signs of life and like past periods of disinterest (1950s style also strongly rejected Victorian furniture, for example) prices may well see a recovery in the future as more and more people reject the dominance of minimalism and mass-produced furniture. Read More »

Learn About: Furniture
Almost everyone in Western society uses many different pieces of furniture in their lives and as antiques that are both ubiquitous and valuable, the market for antique furniture is very large. Many might assume that antique furniture has a primarily aesthetic appeal but the variety of pieces, their utility and their history make furniture more than decorative. Read More »

How to Value: Toys and Dolls
Children’s toys are areas known for surprise valuations because toys continue to prove extremely collectable despite their lack of intrinsic value. Expectations have to be countered, though, by the understanding that modern toys are often very common, and collectors often look to build large collections and so are only rarely willing to part with huge sums. This said, almost all types of toys, games or dolls have their own collecting niche and will be of interest to someone. Read More »

Learn About: Toys and Dolls
Children’s toys are amongst the most well-known collectibles and have been ubiquitous in societies across the world for thousands of years. Widespread toy collecting is, by contrast, a relatively recent phenomenon amongst adults having followed the mass-production of toys from the 19th century. Over the years, the style and fashions of toys and dolls have seen both continuity and change, as much as any antique or collectible. Read More »

How to Value: Tapestries and Textiles
In recent years, tapestries and textiles have not been popular amongst interior designers. Unable to reconcile these traditional, often eclectic craft pieces with 21st century minimalism, prices for decorative tapestries and textiles have not been high. Currently, however it appears tapestry is growing in popularity, especially in a period setting and retains its appeal to collectors; the best examples continue to sell for large sums and the same can be said for other textiles such as clothing and quilts. Read More »

Learn About: Tapestries and Textiles
Tapestries, textiles and embroideries found on the market today generally originate in Northern Europe and America. Things are not as simple as they appear, however, as there are many embroidery and weaving traditions common across the world. For example, in their manufacture, tapestries are identical to ‘kilims’ (a West- and Central-Asian type of carpet) but are generally distinguished from each other in the saleroom. For this reason, this article will look primarily at Western examples of tapestries and textiles. Read More »

How to Value: 20th Century Design
As the 20th century progressed, there was a greater and greater inclination towards the use of inexpensive materials in the manufacture of furniture and domestic wares. Without true ‘antique’ appeal either, it is usually the design of a 20th century piece that gives it its value and current fashion determines whether a piece will of interest to home-buyers, collectors, both, or neither. Read More »

Learn About: 20th Century Design
In the years between the First World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, design of furniture, ceramics, glassware, sculpture, domestic-ware and lighting changed totally. The transition over the ‘short 20th-century’ from Art Deco to the Mid-Century Modern period and culminating in Post-Modernism was arguably the most revolutionary in the history of design with a near constant cycle of reaction to contemporary trends. Read More »

How to Value: Costume Jewellery
It is generally true that, because of its lack of intrinsic value from its materials, much costume jewellery is only as valuable as it is wearable. As with fine jewellery, fashion and favour play a big part in the value of costume jewellery but equally, there are many famous names whose reputation and craftsmanship regularly command four-figure sums. Read More »

Learn About: Costume Jewellery
Although it is sometimes thought of non-precious or imitative, costume jewellery has its own rich history and is considered a craft and an art form in its own right. Costume jewellery may lack the intrinsic value of its “fine” bigger brother, but this has placed more emphasis on design and material making some costume jewellery very interesting and desirable to collectors and the fashion-conscious. Read More »

How to Value: Lighting
In the past, the value of some lighting pieces has gone unappreciated. While the value of some pieces, such as fine Venetian chandeliers or grand silver candelabra, appear obvious objects of value, others such as early candlesticks have been melted down and lost. In a more modern setting, pieces from the 20th century which have fallen victim to changing tastes have also been readily discarded without realisation of their collectible potential. Lighting is first and foremost a functional field, but this has made it no less collectible or valuable. Read More »

Learn About: Lighting
It will come as no surprise that the way we light our houses and public buildings has changed greatly over the last 500 years. Innovations from glassmaking to electricity have allowed designers to produce and reproduce such a range of new designs that pieces such as candlesticks or lamps have become popular subjects of collecting in their own right. Read More »

How to Value: Metals and Brassware
Over the centuries, metals like brass, copper, pewter, iron, tin and bronze have been discovered and re-discovered for a great variety of uses and by many different stylistic movements. Desirable for many different reasons to many different collectors and buyers from the simplest American folk art to the most ornate bronze sculpture, many types of metalwork have highly valuable examples. Read More »

Learn About: Metals and Brassware
When people think of metal antiques, silver usually comes to mind, however, there is a wealth of other metallic materials that have been used in the production of domestic wares and art. Copper, brass bronze, chrome, iron, tin and pewter to name a few offer a myriad of uses and forms due to their spectrum of properties from pewter tavern tankards to elegant Art Deco sculpture. Read More »

How to Value: Japanese Art
Japanese art appears in many forms in European and American markets; two of the most popular of these are carvings and ceramics. These are also both highly collectible in the right cases both to a Japanese and a Western market but the value of Japanese ceramics and carvings can often be hard to determine unless you are familiar with Japanese standards of craftsmanship or desirable characteristics. Read More »

Learn About: Japanese Art
Historically, Japanese art has epitomised the exotic and mysterious image of east-Asian wares to the West. Isolationism and the country’s relations with China, Europe and the US have more than created an air of mysticism, however. Japanese art has drawn on European, Chinese and Korean ideas over its long history and its market in the Europe and the US today is strong thanks to its decorative appeal and reputation for great craftsmanship. Read More »

How to Value: Silverware
Like jewellery but unlike most other antiques, silverware has an intrinsic value tied to the price of gold and silver bullion. Your silverware is also, however, may be worth far more than its value as base metal; although the market for antique silver has not been at its strongest in recent years, quality pieces appraised by an expert continue to fetch high prices. Read More »

Learn About: Silverware
Before recorded human history, only 7 metals, the so-called ‘metals of antiquity’ were known to civilisation, of which silver was one. Its malleability and lustre made silver unsuitable as a building material but, along with its rarity, has meant it has always had a place as a material of status. After Columbus’ voyage to the Americas and the mass import of the vast silver wealth of the New World, silver slowly became more popular in European society while maintaining its imagery of status and luxury. Read More »

Learn About: Scientific Instruments
Many collectors today buy scientific instruments for their innate connection with the great ages of science, medicine and exploration. A practical and cultural window into the worlds of great men and women from Galileo, to James Cook, to Marie Curie; items like telescopes and laboratory apparatus reveal the methods of renowned scientists while sextants and sample jars depict the worlds of exploration and naturalism. Read More »

How to Value Oriental Carpets and Rugs
Many original full-size oriental carpets and rugs from all parts of Asia are valued in the thousands of dollars and some even fetch tens of thousands. While modern carpets of the 20th century or later tend to be less valuable, a fact probably down to the growing commercialisation and mass-production of carpets and rugs, many examples are still of significant value. There are, however, carpets to watch out for. Read More »

Learn About Oriental Carpets and Rugs
Carpets and rugs from Asia have been popular in western culture and markets for hundreds of years; the famous 16th century German-born painter Hans Holbein, renowned for his portraits of famous Brits such as Henry VIII, even has a style named after him for the significance of these carpets in his desirable portraits. The demand for carpets from all over Asia only grew from Europe in the following centuries, and good examples of rugs and carpets from Persia, the Ottoman Empire, Central Asia and the Far East still fetch high prices today. Read More »

Our Top 5 Antique Inspiration Instagram Accounts
We've gathered together our five favourite Instagram accounts, for antique inspiration. Check them out, follow them and let us know where you find your antique and vintage inspiration from. Read More »

Top Tips for Buying Antiques & Vintages
Be flexible and patient. Commercialisation has made us picky and impatient. It takes time and a keen eye to shop vintage, be open-minded, browse and investigate whatever catches your eye. It often means that you come out with something that you didn’t know you needed, but you will love all the same. Read More »

Buying Sustainably: Shopping Antiques and Vintage in England
There’s a myriad of reasons to buy vintage and antiques: pieces are on the whole cheaper, it means you can find unique décor that no one else will have, antique pieces are often made with exquisite craftsmanship and it’s more sustainable than buying new. Read More »

Collecting Vintage Posters
Whilst many people dream of one day owning a piece of fine art, very few ever see this dream materialised on their mantelpiece. On the other hand, almost everyone grew up surrounded by posters, either on their bedroom walls or adorning the streets around them. Vintage posters represent a kind of graphic art which was designed for mass consumption; they were not made to be framed in museums but to advertise products and events, knowing that they could be rained on, torn down or covered up. Read More »

Collecting and Understanding Old Masters
The term ‘Old Masters’ generally refers to European artists and their work dating from (approximately) the 1500s to the 1800s. However, the category of Old Masters is not a formal classification of art in historical terms. Instead, it acts as an umbrella term and encompasses a wide range of styles, movements and locations, including Romanticism, Renaissance (Early, High, Gothic, Venetian, Spanish, Northern), Baroque, the Dutch Golden Age, Rococo and Neoclassicism. To be considered a ‘Master’ is partly... Read More »

Hollywood Memorabilia
Few people can resist the glamourous appeal of Hollywood and in recent years this nostalgia has emerged in several high-profile auctions of noteworthy memorabilia. Recent sales include the personal possessions and cinematic souvenirs of two iconic Hollywood stars: Christie’s The Personal Collection of Audrey Hepburn (the star of Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and Sotheby’s The Vivian Leigh Collection (Gone with the Wind, A Street Car Named Desire). Read More »

Dollhouse Furniture Collecting
Pieces of furniture made by the Ladies’ Guild are in very high demand and that translates into cost. They are extremely fragile now and many are in very poor and degraded condition. However, for keen collectors - particularly in England - they do have special appeal. Read More »

The History of Chess
The history of the game of chess dates back 1500 years. Its origins have been debated between India (where it was called Chaturanga) and China. From Asia the game spread to Persia, and then Southern Europe after the Arab invasion of Persia. It’s in Persia that archaeologists have discovered the oldest chess pieces. From Persia the game spread across the world, for example in Russia through Mongolia, where it was played from the 7th century, cementing its presence and importance there. Read More »

Chinese Ceramics
Chinese ceramics and porcelain have a long and illustrious history. These world-renowned ceramics are not only remarkable for the quality and artistry involved in their production, but the ways in which their styles and motifs can be traced from the early Palaeolithic era to the modern day. Read More »

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