On a daily basis, we get numerous calls and emails from people who are downsizing or moving. We’re also frequently contacted by people who have received an inheritance. All of these people have one thing in common: They want to liquidate and move on — even if that means saying goodbye to some of their most prized possessions.
Unfortunately, liquidating isn’t always as easy as it seems. The public’s taste has changed over the years, and the new mentality is, “Less is more.” As a result, a lot of art, antiques, and jewelry that used to be highly sellable are no longer en vogue. In other words, there’s much less demand for them, which makes it very challenging to make a sale.
What follows is a quick overview to give you some insights into what types of items are hot — and which items are not.
Asian antiques can be extremely valuable. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that only very specific types of Asian antiques are in demand. Chinese antiques from the 19th century or earlier are currently the most sought-after. Jade, coral, amber, bronzes, paintings and porcelain are all good. To illustrate: A 900-year-old porcelain bowl from the Song dynasty fetched $38 million at auction in October 2017. Nepalese, Indian and Tibetan art and antiques are also highly valued. Bronze Buddhas, Thongkas and jewelry are all wanted. However, items from Thailand, Korea, Japan and Cambodia are not as sellable as they used to be.
Mid-Century Modern (MCM) furniture is really hot right now thanks to the hit TV show “Mad Men,” which has had a significant impact on interior design. Furniture and decorative items from the 50s and 60s are really in, as are 70s materials such as Lucite, chrome and brass. Chairs, wall sculptures and coffee tables are all doing well in the market. Some of the most popular designer names include Paul Evans, Philip and Kelvin Laverne, Pierro Fornasetti, Herman Miller, and George Nakashima. In fact, a Nakashima Renowned Minguren I Coffee Table recently sold for $140,000 at an online auction. On the other hand, dining room tables, breakfronts and curio cabinets are no longer in demand; plus, the days of antique brown mahogany and oak furniture are over.
Watches will always be in demand. Even with a growing number of people checking the time on their phones, many discerning people still want a good watch. Just like with jewelry, watch buyers are name conscious. Classic names include Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Vaccheron Constantin. In fact, watches are so in demand that in September 2018, Sotheby’s in London will hold a “Fine Timepieces” auction featuring a number of stunning watches, including a 1954 white gold and diamond set Patek Philippe automatic wristwatch with bracelet. If you’re looking to sell a watch, note that the style is very important. The bigger the better applies for both men’s and women’s watches. Antique watches with tiny faces that are difficult to read are becoming obsolete.
Designer jewelry is doing well. While beautiful jewelry is good, it’s a difficult sell unless it has a name to it. The go-to names — including David Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, Cartier, Buccelatti and Harry Winston — are all very desirable. In November 2017, a 33.63 carat Fancy Light Pink Diamond that Harry Winston mounted as a ring in 1970 sold for a record-breaking $12,818,240. Currently, white gold and platinum are more popular than the gold and rose gold color. Large diamonds and precious stones that are more than one carat will always be easy to sell. It’s important to understand, however, that when it comes to diamonds, women are no longer looking for the pear or marquis cuts. Today’s brides usually prefer round, cushion and princess cuts.
Fine art is still collected today. Modern and contemporary art has become much easier to sell, and pop art and limited-edition prints are in-demand as decorative items. Big names include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose 1984 painting on a picket fence titled “Flexible” sold in May 2018 for $45.3 million — much higher than the estimated sale price of $30 to $40 million. According to current taste, antique paintings with bulky frames take up too much space. As a result, prices for this type of antique artwork are approximately half of what they were a decade ago.
If you’re looking to sell any of the items listed above, please let us know. We’re happy to help. Our experts can come to your home for a no-obligation, discreet appraisal and, if you so choose, a quick sale. We can handle the transaction on the spot and, once it’s performed, remove the sold item(s) from your home immediately so there’s the least amount of hassle for you. For more information, please visit our contact page, or call us at (212) 366-9466.