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More than old relics: What is the future of antiques?

More than old relics: What is the future of antiques?


Recessions will come and go, tastes will change and buying habits will fluctuate. Among it all, antiques will continue to thrive. From the rise of the online antique store to shifts in interiors, dealers and collectors are stepping into the future to adapt to a more digital world. But can new-age portals ever replicate the euphoria of an in-store trawl? And how will new laws affect sellers in a more ethical antique world? Let’s explore the trends afoot...

Changing tastes

No longer are antiques old relics: sad, tired objects that solely belong in museums or dusty cramped shops. For many designers, homeowners and tastemakers, blending antiques into modern interiors creates a unique and eclectic aesthetic. The shift means that the type of people buying antiques is changing: more buyers are realising that it’s possible to buy centuries-old furniture that undercuts contemporary equivalents in many ways. Read our Victorian furniture guide to see why IKEA shoppers are emptying their trolleys and searching where to buy antique furniture online instead.

Tin is in

Old-world pieces are expected to remain popular going forward, according to Pinterest’s top trends for 2019 ahead. In particular, searches for ‘tin interiors’ are up a whopping 563 per cent, proving that nostalgic nods and vintage touches are very much alive. If tin is in for you, browse the beautiful tin items on our online antique shop, or visit us to uncover the perfect metallic piece. 

The rise of the online antique shop

Online antiques for sale have changed the way goods change hands. No longer are pieces passed from dealers to specialists to private buyers and so on - the internet means items get straight to the end buyer, no middleman necessary. The online antique store has inevitably created a more accessible market for modern buyers, but original shops, markets, auctions and centres remain places of true passion. Spending time trawling these havens, occasionally pouncing on a bargain and inspecting its patinas and markings in detail cannot be replicated in a virtual world.

Sales of ivory will be no more

A near-total ban on the sale of ivory has been on the horizon since it was announced in April 2018. To protect elephants for future generations, the Ivory Bill is expected to come into effect in the UK in the summer of 2019. With at least 20,000 elephants killed every year, the public are rejecting ivory as attitudes towards its financial gain diminish. Whether you flog at flea markets or own an online antique shop, there are a few facts you need to know to get on board with the ban. The Antiques Trade Gazette has compiled a useful guide to the UK Ivory Ban, which could see dealers landing unlimited fines or up to five years in prison if breached. Sales of antique rhino horns are also expected to banned in the forthcoming bill.

Buy what you love

Just because something is unfashionable now, doesn’t mean its value won’t soar in years to come. As always, it comes down to buying what you love. Brave buyers buck trends, enhancing their collections at bargain prices. For those with a true passion for old-world pieces, the objects themselves outweigh all financial considerations. If your knowledge stems deep, you’re likely to have a natural eye for the best investments anyway. Furniture that hasn’t been restored will always be desirable, as will the luxury names such as Chippendale and Wedgwood. 

Here at Hemswell Antiques, we’re forever looking forward with our items from the past. Our inspirational online antique store showcases more than 3,000 antiques, but we always advise our customers to experience our centres in person. As Europe’s largest antiques centre, there’s something truly special about a day out here. It’s possible to inspect the intricacies of an antique and judge the value for yourself, with peace of mind you’re buying a quality item. Wading through treasures, stopping for a coffee, cake and old-fashioned chinwag, is a past glory that will never compare to clicking through online antiques for sale - no matter what the trends tell you.

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