New York - Now in its thirteenth year, the Asheford Institute's annual survey of top decorative arts buying trends from the past twelve months has just made its way onto both digital and paper newsstands across the country.
The survey and poll of past students and graduates has become a staple to many in the antique industry for its unique ability to look into the current state of today's decorative arts marketplace as it relates to overall sales trends for dealers within the collecting community as whole.
Lead researcher for the school, Anthony Harper, says the key to getting print-worthy survey results that people can actually use to help plan their own buying strategies for the upcoming year is based on receiving actual sales data, alongside item-specific requests from buyers, which can then be used to indicate interest within a particular collecting genre.
As with virtually everything this past year, Harper says the ongoing pandemic continued to have an effect on not only large scale supply-chain issues for new and freshly minted items, but also for older collectibles with a few more miles on them. "Last year categories like costume and period jewelry boomed," he said, "but this year, it was all about finding inventory." Harper believes that some categories in the poll rose or fell not necessarily because of a lack of popularity, but because of a lack of stable inventory. "When everyone is online doing stay-at-home on their computers it's going to have a net effect on available stock out there for dealers."
However, not all things moved to the rhythm of the pandemic, at least according to Amber Shole, who's been compiling statistics for the survey for over ten years now. "Mid-century modern remained strong," said Shole, despite past survey indications that it may have peaked. "I think sometimes really strong trends can have mini-dips and valleys along the way and this is simply an example of that." Shole said that other perennial poll favorites like Art Deco and toys also continued fare well this year.
For other areas of the survey there were some legitimate surprises, as once again an unexpected category literally rocketed to the top of the charts with seemingly little notice. What causes these apparent sudden swings in interest? Well, according to Shole, it's more than just about the age of the item, but also the age of the buyer that will often set the trend in motion. "Three years ago, there was a buying frenzy of baby boomers looking to collect anything related to the Apollo Moon missions 50th anniversary," said Shole. "But a year later interest peaked, and sales were relatively flat." End of story, right? Not according to Shole, who says that last year's roll out of a Chinese space station, SpaceX rocket launches, and the deployment of a ground-breaking celestial telescope, has reinvigorated the space genre with an entirely new group of younger collectors. "It just goes to show that sometimes a popular collecting category can literally come from nowhere and take the collecting world by storm," says Shole, "it's kind of exciting to see."
For readers seeking the complete 2021 listing of all the best-selling antique and vintage genres and categories contained within the school's yearly poll and survey, you can find the full results (including this year's winner), by simply clicking on the link below...
Link To Survey/Poll:
**TOP SELLING ANTIQUE & VINTAGE CATEGORIES FOR 2021**
Emily Watkins is a freelance decorative arts writer, and an honors graduate of the Institute. She splits her time between New York and London as a contributing columnist to all things MCM and is also a recognized specialist in the field of Asian & European ceramics.
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