Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The whole business is undergoing a change, and frankly, we really should not be surprised.

The antiques & (true) collectibles market is self adjusting, and always has been. 

Supply and demand dictates much of what we do. Certainly we have had events that cause some manipulation of the markets, and the TV hype & focus on the buying and selling aspect of the antiques/collectibles business is a media reaction to hard financial times. The media is responding to the current market.....and that market is the general public who want to know of other ways to make money, rather than relying on the traditional financial system, which in their view has failed them.

We are also seeing another major change related directly to the same principle of supply and demand.

We have a bulge in the population (the Baby Boomer generation) which have been starting to slowly sell/dispose of more vintage things than they buy. At one time, not that long ago, that situation was reversed. The collecting segment of Baby Boomers has dominated the antiques & collectibles market for some time, and they now are in the process of selling their collections. Add to that the fact that their parents are now at an age where they are entering  retirement condo complexes,  independent/assisted living  personal care homes, passing on. So the now those same  Baby Boomers are liquidating their parents belongings as well. Adding even more inventory to the market. 

Plus, the upper level of the Baby Boomers are doing those same nearing the "end of life" adjustments themselves.

So, who is consuming this burgeoning supply?  Financial conditions are not exactly ripe for consumption of non-necessities en-masse.  Also, the what well may be the majority of the items being dumped on the market are not being received by the majority of the current collecting population with open wallets. Do most 30-somethings care about a 1950s tin toy? Yes, some of them think they are neat, see their appeal, but for most of that generation, their own childhood memories are rooted in the late 1970s and 1980s. Plastic Transformers tower over tin toys when it comes to what that generation recalls from their childhood's past.

Collections sought after by previous generations will change in desirability as the consumer base changes in age. wealth, priorities and interests.

Can we manipulate the interests of the collecting consumer?

Yes, we can, but only somewhat.  Employing media based ideas such as celebrity endorsements or other such manipulations will end with mixed results, some positive, some negative, some with no effects at all.

Dealers need to adapt, change, and bend with the trends.  Survival of the most adaptable and most flexible, and those willing to twist, turn, manipulate and add to their knowledge.

We should all strive to be Transformers.

(***This post started out as a reply to posting on another blog - Viewable at: )

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