Monday, October 22

There is a new lining for all your silver treasures

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Antique silver, depressed for so long that in Britain, in particular, much of the nation's silver heritage has been smelted into scrap, is showing signs of renewal

There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for antique silver, says Barnebys, the art auction search engine that hosts 3000 auction houses on its site.

Antique silver, depressed for so long that in Britain, in particular, much of the nation’s silver heritage has been smelted into scrap, is showing signs of renewal alongside other indicators that the art market generally has turned a corner.

The latest Art Basel and UBS Report by art market authority Clare McAndrew says last year saw an improvement for the market generally, which rose by an average of 12% globally. The US and China showed the greatest gains.

For years antique silver, already struggling, was hard hit when the international market in art and antiques suffered a downturn in 2008 and again in 2014. Now, one of the UK’s leading antique silver dealers, Koopman Rare Art, has reported record sales at Maastricht in the Netherlands. The dealers sold an impressive 1814 George III silver gilt ambassadorial mirror plateau once owned by Baron Stewart, who fought with the Duke of Wellington in many of his campaigns. It was bought by a private collector for £275 000 (about R4.6million).

Bukowskis, Scandinavia’s leading auction house, has confirmed silver’s revival and said the prevailing trend in the secondary market – that quality counts, regardless of category, materials or age – now also applies to silver.

Barnebys says buyers and bidders are particularly looking for unusual objects with provenance and believes it is time for new generations to start using silver again.

Barnebys chief executive, Pontus Silfverstolpe, said: “Because so many silver works were melted down for scrap, we will see a higher interest and much higher prices for items that have survived the smelting madness. Supply and demand will, as ever, have a rectifying effect.”

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