I’ve done a lot of talking about value in this blog. The influence of auction prices is a starting point for appraisals of antiques and collectibles the world over. There are several regularly published price guides. Some people swear by them others swear… well they use them as a starting point. I can imagine that a lot of the standard price guides have gone a bit stale. The economic woes we are all suffering have surely taken a toll on prices realized at auction.
Incredibly there is still some ground breaking action in the markets. A recent article in Antique Trader magazine headlined the setting of a new world record for a bottle at $100,620. I have to admit, I’m rather impressed. Of course this is a genuinely old item with an interesting historical provenance. This bottle is known as the “Firecraker Flask.” Blown in blue glass by the Kensington Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. sometime between 1820 and 1840 it’s color blue is particularly rare.
The bottle commemorates the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both of whom passed away on the 4th of July 1826. The bottle was formerly in the collections of William Pollard and Warren C. Lane, Jr.
The former record was set by American Bottle Auctions of Sacramento, Calif., which involved the sale of a Bryant’s cone-shaped Bitters electronic cigarette for non smokers bottle.
That one realized a price of $68,750 in 1999. That’s a pretty amazing jump considering that there is no government stimulus cash for clinking bottles program.
When records such as this are broken we take notice. It sends folks scurrying to their basements with unrealistic expectations. Still it’s nice to know that somebody out there is ready to spend some serious cash on nonessential items. The antique and collectibles trade is rife with events like this. Boom and bust are doled out in approximately equal proportions. Remember the ripples that went through the economy after the World Trade Towers were brought down? Social upheaval has a chilling effect on an industry that is based on buyers disposable income.
The long term outlook for the economy still seems uncertain. The wise player in this game will ride the rallys and plan for the downturns. Call it market surfing. Keep your eye on the waves and don’t be afraid to get your feet wet.
Knowledge is Power
Keep yourself up to date. You won’t find out what you need to know on CNN or FOX. Listen to the buzz around your local antique mall and flea markets. get the latest price guides at some place like Amazon. Read the regional antique trade newspapers. It’s war out there and good intelligence is priceless.