Art and antiques are continuing to provide the best long-term value for investors looking for a tangible return on their purchases.
Traders across the Midlands are still reporting increased sales with rural businesses particularly faring well, according to specialist dealers.
BBC Antiques Roadshow expert Judith Miller said she expected antiques and fine art values to rise – especially while the bank rate offered such a meagre return for investors.
Ms Miller, who will be appearing at the Antiques For Everyone exhibition at the Birmingham NEC (March 17-20), said many people were now looking at collectibles as an alternative to more traditional investments.
“Savings in the bank are earning next to nothing so people wanting to invest, especially those with larger sums, are entering the market.
“This is particularly true at the higher end of the price range. Instead of people spending a few hundred pounds they are now spending thousands,” commented Ms Miller.
She said gold and silver were increasing in value with quality jewellery showing substantial gains.
“The market remains a strong performer for buyers looking to invest in more tangible assets to guard against the uncertain economic picture. This is particularly clear in the increase in sales in the higher value brackets.
“Everyone has something that they can collect from rock and pop memorabilia to military history. Traditional items such as silver and jewellery will always do well in difficult economic times, but Chinese art and ceramics are increasingly popular. The recent surge in prices in this sector shows no sign of abating with demand at an all-time high.”
Young buyers were also finding antiques a more attractive investment proposal, especially in areas like rock and pop memorabilia, costume jewellery and pop art from the 1950s and 1960s.
“Prices have risen substantially. Certain items of costume jewellery can now fetch thousands of pounds,” said Ms Miller.
She urged everyone to check old items of jewellery that had belonged to family members to find if any high-value items remained undiscovered.
Ms Miller said the trade was still reeling from the recent discovery of the Chinese porcelain vase that astounded its owners when it was valued at millions of pounds. She said similar items could be sitting on the mantelpieces of unsuspecting households waiting to net a fortune for their owners.
“When the palaces in China were looted all those years ago no-one knew exactly what was taken. Other things would have found their way to the market so there are bound to be more shocks to the trade,” said Ms Miller.
Ms Miller will be joined at the NEC show by fellow Roadshow expert Mark Hill.
The duo will be scouring the exhibition halls to find their favourite items and sharing their expert knowledge with visitors to the fair over the four days.
Ms Miller said: “We’ve both attended the fair many times before and we always find little gems to add to our personal collections, but this time we will be sharing our personal ‘‘top picks’’ with everyone who visits.”
With more than 300 specialist dealers exhibiting more than 100,000 items the fair, which is now in its 26th year, offers collectors a huge selection of fine art and antiques.
Items for sale include Georgian and Victorian furniture, fine English silver, impressive British and European works of art, highly collectable pottery and porcelain and jewellery from the past 300 years.
* The Antiques for Everyone Show takes place at the NEC from March 17-20 www.antiquesforeveryone.co.uk