Friday, October 3, 2008

Antiques & Fine Art Market Forecast: It's Opportunity Time for Collectors & Dealers

If you like Porfirio Salinas, take a look at William A. Slaughter.

My phone is continuing to ring off the hook with people desperate to sell their belongings because they need cash, or they think they might. This flurry of phone calls might be based on fear – the fear of not knowing what the value of their savings and property will be if this economy continues its downward spiral. The market is changing, and as buyers and sellers of antiques and fine art, we need to adjust our way of doing business to handle the change. This isn't a "bad" thing. I call this time, "Oportunity Time."

It's opportunity time for those of us in this business and for those collectors who have the cash to buy. I’m not saying we should hurry on out to spend our money. It’s opportunity only if we are diligent in our hunt for treasure and select the very best. When we find it, we should take the chance and offer a price that will best assure a substantial profit. I’m not suggesting we be unfair, but rather take into consideration how long it might take to sell that item at the price we’ll need and to consider if it doesn’t sell at that price, how much further we might have to drop the price days or months down the road to move it. These are very uncertain times, and when we’re buying now, we’re taking a substantial risk. That risk needs figure into our offer. Merchandise is only as valuable as the price someone will pay for it. And, right now, it's anybody's guess what will be a week, a month, or six months from now. By all means, adjust offers to the present market conditions, weighing the risk carefully. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how much a Mark Rothko painting or an Andy Warhol will sell for today, in light of this Wall Street fiasco. Whoever has cash, can become king of the hill.

This week, a woman who has a wonderful Porfirio Salinas Texas Bluebonnet painting, called looking to sell it. I asked her what she thought the painting was worth. She told me,“$25,000." She might have been correct a little while back, but not today. The last Salinas, same size as hers, sold for $16,000, and that is a new listed figure. After commissions, the most she could expect would be about $12,000. I explained this to her, and I gave her another place to check further. I haven’t heard back from her yet, but I’m certain I will.

The only way that painting will bring more than $12,000 is at auction. In that scenario, the wait will be several months, and by then, there is no telling what market conditions we will be facing. I just happen to have a buyer interested in purchasing a Porfirio Salinas. At the right price, I could sell the painting very quickly, and she could have cash in hand.

You might be asking, “Why not pay a little more for the painting and be sure that you get it?” Here’s why: The next call might be an even better opportunity, so why should I hurry to spend my money? Then, Bingo! The next call was from a person who has some of the best Lotton Glass I’ve ever seen. If the price is right, I will buy it.

When we are dealing in upper end items in the Antiques and Fine Art Markets, it doesn’t take too much of an effort to tie up a considerable amount of money. The rewards in this business can make our lives a lot easier, but we need to be wise in our spending. Always keep track of where you are money-wise. Know what you can commit and what the risks are. And remember – there is always the Associate Program available to 31 Club members if you find a treasure but don’t have the funds to buy it yourself.

There is a large amount of quality items likely coming to market in the days ahead. I already see some of it coming. At this time, we might not need to spend so much time trying to find items that others have missed. This present and coming market will allow us to pick and choose what we want to buy, and at the price we want to pay. It’s looking like a buyer’s market in the making. Our prices should be adjusted accordingly. Don’t make an offer unless you seriously intend to purchase the item. The seller just might surprise you and say “sold,” and you’ll need to buy. Remember the rules in which we conduct our business. If you need a reminder, it’s in our club guide book - “31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles.”

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