From Chicago to Cumbria, Victorian dining chairs and other antiques are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Part of the reason is the “Kirstie Effect” – increased interest from younger buyers lured by TV programmes like Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Show. However, while attendance figures are strong at antique fairs, the number of dealers is falling. What is needed is an injection of new blood into the industry, according to a report by Miller’s Antiques Guide.
Judith Miller is currently visiting the States as part of her mission to keep abreast of the antiques trade markets worldwide. What she found was intriguing: as in Lancashire, antique desks and Victorian dining chairs are popular again. The problem is lack of good specimens. The dealers aren’t getting any younger, and when they retire, there’s no-one to replace them – or keep the stores open. When sales are poor, it’s as likely to be through lack of stock as lack of interest. As one Washington show organiser said:
“We need new, young blood in the business.”
A report from the US states one of the problems is that the antiques business model is very much an antique itself, unable to tear itself away from the “100 years or older” image or embrace modern technology. It suggests melding traditional antiques with modern memorabilia to lure younger traders into the field.
While you’re unlikely to find antique dealers in Lancashire selling antique desks next to Transformers models, the technology is another matter. Google “Victorian dining chairs” in Preston and you’ll find a surprising number of antique dealers trading online as well as from conventional stores.
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