Here’s an Idea that Needs to Come Across the Pond:National Antiques Week

Getting antiques dealers in the United States to do anything together might be something akin to herding cats, but somehow its second-nature in the U.K. I recently noticed an item on National Antiques Week coming up in the November. If the number of television shows on the topic is any indication, I sense there is also an affinity for antiquities brewing just below the surface in the U.S., but the industry has failed to translate that into sales. One reason is a big disconnect between what’s being offered at shows and what consumers, particularly younger consumers are looking for. One item asked consumers what era was their favorite. The top answer was 1900-1930, which is not what you expect to find at a typical antique show. I mention this to point out that as an industry, we don’t have our act together. The UAA survey was small and informal, but we undertook it because there has been little or no effort to do market research on buyers and their preferences.  We like to throw around slogans like “antiques are green,” and “antiques are a good investment,” but there’s no effort to look into the truth of those statements. Modern consumers are savvy, and an empty slogan is the quickest way to turn off buyers for a generation or more.

But across the pond it seems things are different. Not only has there been a study to show that antiques really are green, but there seems to be a well jointed effort to promote antiques for decorators and collectors. And it seems the vintage and retro crowd is being welcomed into the fold. I have long contended that is the gateway drug in the antiques business.

Here are soem details.

Promoters say there has been an overwhelming response from the public with over 300 entries a day being received. This clearly demonstrates the widespread interest and affection the public have for this heritage business that also contributes over £2.4billion to the UK’s economy. The campaign offers:

• FREE COMPETITION to win an elegant antique mantel clock worth £450, or a selection of Millers’ books worth over £200

• FREE ENTRY to selected antiques fairs in November

• 18,000 posters distributed throughout the UK to antiques shops, auction houses and fairs.

• Mark Hill of the BBC’s Cracking Antiques and Antiques Roadshow acting as the face of the campaign.

The campaign stresses the following points:

Now is the time to buy antiques….

There has never been a better time to invest in antiques – a tangible and enjoyable investment to have and hold or maybe to sell at a profit when the time strikes you! While less tangible assets offer no guarantees, a desirable antique object repays a premium on your investment with years of pleasure.

Following a ground-breaking report by industry specialists Carbon Clear, National Antiques Week promotes and endorses the green credentials of antiques and highlights the good value that antiques represent compared with equivalent high street purchases.

The campaign also supports the growing trend of young people buying antiques, vintage, and retro for their homes.

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