New Interest in Old Stuff, Why People Invest in Antiques

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

FISHERSVILLE, Va – Some people may look at antiques and think, “Who would ever pay money for something like that?” For other people, an item could be the thing they have search for their entire lives.

“An antique is as valuable as somebody will make it be,” said Jani Pullin, an antique collector. “You can put a book value on it, but if somebody's not going to give you that monetary amount, you almost have to play it by ear.”

At a Labor Day auction in Stuarts Draft, one of the stars of reality show, “American Pickers,” walked away with a 1907 motorcycle. He paid $30,000 for it. Reality stars make it look easy for everyone to find that rare item.

Some people in the business said it is not so easy to find those valuable items.

“It gives the impression that we possess objects that are worth huge fortunes,” said Ray Stokes, who has 40 years of experience with antiques. “Typically, I think it kind of over inflates the physical value of things.”

Pullin said reality shows can give viewers the wrong impression.

“It gives a sense of false hope there in trying to find something that's worth that. Most of the time you're only going to sell something for about a $100,” said Pullin.

Depending on what end of the deal you are on, $100 for some people, might be a bargain, but for others, it can feel like a major disappointment.

Antiquing is not always about the cost though.

“It's amazing what people collect,” said Stokes. “There are collectors out there seeking almost every kind of object. Oftentimes the collector needs just one thing to complete a collection or specific item, and they're oftentimes willing to pay it, if that's what it takes.”

Even though it is hard to make a fortune from selling antiques, a new interest in old stuff is beneficial for everyone.

“I think it's good. It helps both vendors and the economy, as well,” said Pullin. “You know, you're putting money back into the workforce.”

It may be hard to find that rare treasure. Some of the dealers said that antiques just are not worth as much as they used to cost in the current economy.


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