The Mystery of What is Hot and Desirable

In looking at the more recent on-line shows and dealers’ ads in publications as well as their websites I am struck by the rise of “miniatures.” These blanket chests, baskets, candlesticks, redware, and the like are not salesmen samples or dollhouse furnishings. I remember decades ago when Windsor furniture in miniature, made new, was all the rage. Now it is antiques. How does a genre suddenly appear, command strong prices, and then as quietly as it arrived, retreat into the shadows?

I am told no one wants homespun blankets anymore; there is no market for them. Yet there was a time when they were desirable although their prices never skyrocketed. Did anyone who wanted one purchase those they were happy with and stop buying? Do newer collectors not know of them since they are rarely to be found anymore at shows and in ads?

Now it is miniatures, some commanding five figure prices. They are pretty and I have seen a miniature blanket chest or two I really liked, but found myself unwilling to pay what was asked. I wish I had discovered them before everyone else did and the prices were lower.

I talked with one antique dealer who hypothesized now that old-time collectors’ houses are full, miniatures that can be put here and there make perfect sense. And when we have put them here and there, and own enough, what then?

I do not own any miniatures unless you count the small cast iron toy airplanes my wife collects – several shelves of them. They are heck to dust and really only look good if grouped, one after a other.

I would love to hear your opinion as to why miniatures are so hot now. And your opinion as to how a genre catches fire but eventually flies too close to the sun and is extinguished.

Until next month.

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