After suffering a large decline over the last few years, prices are finally levelling off for English “brown” furniture such as Victorian dining chairs and antique mahogany pedestal desks .
Lancashire antique traders are remaining optimistic that the 2% drop reported in the Annual Furniture Index (AFI) for 2011 marks the start of an upward trend, with the decline no worse than that reported for the housing market or stock exchange.
Published yearly by the Antique Collectors’ Club, the AFI is based on the prices of 1400 typical items from seven categories or periods in the book British antique furniture by John Andrews – who launched the project in 1968. The index draws from both auction and retail results, but ignores the spectacular items at the top end of the market – where prices continue to do well. From the point of someone selling antique mahogany partners desks in the Ribble Valley, the AFI offers by far the most accurate reflection of current market trends.
Looking at the seven categories individually, the indices showing the least signs of recovery were those associated with formal dining, such as early Victorian dining chairs – although much of this was down to the lack of quality pieces in the auction rooms. Encouragingly, Early Mahogany and walnut pieces saw a gain in value.
With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, plus period dramas like WE and Downton Abbey, focussing the public attention on fine dining, could this be the year the antique balloon back dining chair comes back into fashion? Antique dealers in Lancashire certainly hope so. In the meantime, the advice is to buy that antique oak partners desk in Preston while the price is right.
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