Antiques from Africa # 27

As for predictions in the year ahead I think it will be a lot like looking into a crystal ball.

2014 has arrived and as usual in January I contemplate the year ahead and begin to plan what antique fairs I will be doing. This year is fairly full with fairs planned for Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and Birmingham. It is also now that I review the trends and fashions within the antiques trade in the hope of capitalising on them, as the year progresses.

As the antique industry continues to adapt to the new technology using the latest cutting edge imaging and research capabilities, we are finding our markets have grown exponentially. Strong images that have the ability to catch the eye in the ebb and flow on a computer screen are what we look for. This English tea pot made by Minton in the form of a monkey holding onto a coconut illustrates this nicely.

G775 Minton Majolica tea pot_LRG

Minton pioneered this type of pottery known as Majolica, at the Great Exhibition staged in London in 1851. They went on to develop a whole range of whimsical tea pots that were very popular with Victorian society. It photographs really well and is hard to believe that it dates from the 1870’s. Spotted by a client who has a great eye for the unusual, it now has a new home in Johannesburg.

One of the other major influences affecting our business at present is our currency. Since January 2013 we have seen it weaken against the British Pound from 13.79 to 17,51 a decrease of 27%. I personally believe it is oversold and will bounce back but in the meantime this is making anything with an international value very attractive to my local clients. The secret to any good portfolio is a variety of investments including material assets. In the South African Antique Dealers’ Association (SAADA) membership booklet under the ‘benefits of buying an antique’ this is brought home by points 1 & 7 which state “ Antiques are internationally tradeable commodities” and “Not subject to Capital Gains Tax”.

Crystal ball on original wooden stand

As for predictions in the year ahead I think it will be a lot like looking into a crystal ball . The upcoming elections, the tapering by the Federal Reserve and sluggish growth in our economy are on the down side. On the up side are the number of visiting tourists who all comment on what great value South Africa is as an international destination and the magic Mandela legacy. Finally it is the warmth of all the people in our rainbow nation that tourists comment on when visiting my shop. Even if my crystal ball gazing is not up to scratch I can still sell the ball to pay the rent.