It’s that time of the year again for predictions. While the pandemic has some people uncertain about the future, we’re still seeing economists, fashionistas, sports commentators and other industry experts give their best guess as to what’s in store for 2021.
The auction industry is no different, and watching auctions is actually a great way to gauge fair market value for items ranging from fine art and antiques to vintage jewelry, cars and furniture.
So, what’s hot and what’s not? These five items are doing well and have the potential to do even better in the year ahead:
Vintage Timepieces: For centuries, people have been fascinated with horology, which is the study of the measurement of time. And when it comes to collecting vintage watches and timepieces, the market continues to be strong. Vintage brands that are doing well at auction include Rolex, Cartier, Breitling, Movado, Omega, Longines and Patek Philippe.
Mid-Century Furniture: While the era of this vintage furniture ranges from the 1930s to the 1960s, the items that do the best at our auction house seem to be from the 1950s to the 1970s. Examples include clear acrylic and Lucite chairs and tables, Teak Danish modern style furniture, Herman Miller Eames lounge chairs and Charles Hollis to name a few.
Vintage vinyl records: Old records from the 1960s and 1970s are in demand, especially LPs from rock bands such as The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, The Who, Sex Pistols, and older jazz like Hank Mobley, Miles Davis and Sonny Red. Albums with the original posters still inside can fetch hundreds of dollars. Vintage turntables are also in demand and can be worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Gold coins and jewelry: As I write this, gold markets are rallying and everything I’ve read indicates that the value of gold will continue to increase. One reason is that there is so much political and economic uncertainty. Gold coins will continue to do well at auction, especially if they are highly graded. Gold jewelry is also in demand. Brands that do well include Cartier, Georg Jensen, Kristoff, and costume jewelry manufacturers, like Weiss and Eisenberg.
Vintage Toys: Collectors are seeking toys from late 1970s to the early 1980s, especially Star Wars collectibles, Transformers, Hot Wheels, Gumby and Pokey, and He-Man. Some of these toys and action figures from that period in original packaging are worth thousands of dollars. And while they debuted in the mid-1990s, Pokémon cards are gaining momentum as a coveted collectible.
What items have lost their appeal? Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch dolls, Precious Moments, Carnival chalkware, collector plates, and newer Barbie dolls, though the vintage Barbie dolls still hold value. It’s not that these items won’t sell, but rather, they are not performing well because of a diminished demand.
Whether you’re buying or selling, make sure you do your research to fully understand market value. And when in doubt, consult with a professional appraiser or industry expert.
Erik Hoyer owns EJ’s Auction & Appraisal in Glendale.