Thursday, 2nd July 2020

This Month's Magazine
What’s a safe investment?

WhatÂ’s a safe investment?

Antiques offer a unique opportunity for investors because they can perform double duty as an investment and a home decoration.

The stock market is shaky, banks are no longer safe, properties have peaked, and possibly gold has too; letÂ’s not even mention annuities and pensions. So, where and how can you safely keep your savings?

There is no point stashing money under the mattress or in a tea pot, politicians will still get at it through inflation and will erode the value, unless the teapot happens to be a 1895 Belleek, then you are talking. Does this not suggest that the antique trade is probably a safer

Beautiful things will always be beautiful and people are looking for an alternative investment. If you watch the Antiques Roadshow or any other Lifestyle Channel program styled around the old stuff people “happen to have lying around”, it’s easy to imagine that every family tree
hides a little nest egg or two.

While you might strike it lucky at the local fete or market, you need information to understand what you’re buying. You can make money if you’re astute but gone are the days when you’ll pick up something for €10 at a garage sale and sell it for €10,000.” No matter what the investment, education is always the starting point.

There are also some basic rules to follow: buy the best you can afford, look for items with proven origin; buy signed objects, donÂ’t buy damaged items no matter how much you love them and look after your purchases. Note that there is a subtle difference between antiques
and collectibles. Something made 100 years ago or more is an antique, whereas collectibles may also be defined as an item with value that someone takes time to collect. Cardboard cereal boxes, mint tins and bottles.

As with most investments, it all comes back to choosing wisely in the first place. And, as with all things financial, think with your head, not your heart. It takes luck and an experienced eye to find true valuables among “collectibles”. Generally anything that comes with a certificate of authenticity is typically a collectible as opposed to an antique where the market seeks the rare and one of a kind. Antiques offer a unique opportunity for investors because they can perform double duty as an investment and a home decoration.


Sometimes old items have value because they have the potential of becoming antiques or because they represent a certain style or era that has gone. Even fakes can become antiques or collectibles because of their uniqueness. The value of an antique depends on a number of factors, these include age, condition, how often itÂ’s been retouched or repaired (if at all) and how much demand it generates or can generate. The latter is particularly important.

Shopping for antiques isnÂ’t just about buying old objects, it is about being able to recognize their worth. This requires the investors to study the market and the history of the antiques.

How and where you find antiques is another question. The antique shops are a safe bet because the antiques are usually certified and you know you are buying something of value and they also have a wide selection of items in stock. The disadvantage is that they are the more expensive option.

Auction houses are another alternative; this is where items are sold to the highest bidder. I would recommend that anyone interested in an auction should make a point of inspecting the items before they are bid for and set a limit on how much to spend before getting carried away by the heat of the auction.

By far the cheapest option is to buy from a market trader at the outdoor market or local fête from what is classed as a lot of “junk”. Remember market traders are not usually silly and they know if what they have is valuable or not, and one thing is certain, you can haggle on price, but be careful it can work the other way if you have not done your homework. Don’t forget to have a good look in your garage or attic or even grandma’s attic, you never know what you will find.

See you at the next auction!

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