Investing In Antiques
Are antiques a good investment? Ever since 1968, the Antique Collectors' Club in England has published an annual review of the prices of antique furniture which we'll call the Antique Furniture Price Index, or AFPI. We've rounded off the numbers, but very broadly, this is the picture that their data paint for us. If you had bought an average piece of antique furniture for £100 in 1968, twenty years later, in 1988, you would have had to pay £2,185 for it, and now, in 2000, it would cost you £3,350. By comparison, the Financial Times Stock Index (the equivalent of the Dow) went from 100 in 1968, to 675 in 1988, and to 1900 now. In 33 years an average antique has increased by a factor of 33.5, while the average stock has gone up by a factor of 19. Antiques are certainly a good investment.
However high or low antiques rank as good investments, no other way investment brings with it the daily pleasure that an antique does. People love their antiques; they buy them in order to live with them, not to sell them in the near future. The low liquidity of an antique, therefore, is not a drawback. It is built in to the nature of the antique. If you love antiques, you necessarily have a long-term perspective, and that's the only perspective from which to view antiques as investments.
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