It has become so common a lament that we tire of hearing it. The American antique community needs more young collectors. Collectors are dying off. The future of collecting American antiques, its dealers, auction houses, and others is at stake.
Yet a January Wall Street Journal article was titled, Millennial Buyers Buoy A hard-Hit Art Market. Let me repeat that, young collectors, ages 25 to 40) bidding on everything from jewelry to Japanese whiskeys in 2020, softened the blow for auction houses worldwide amid a pandemic.
We are told that the major auction houses – Sotheby’s, Christie’s, etc. tossed out their playbooks, went online, and while still bringing in fewer dollars than the year before (the pandemic of course), inaugurated customizable features like augmented reality (so collectors could see what artworks would look like hanging in their homes)) reached out to collectors. Asian collectors living in Asia) helped according to the article, a group not interested in American antiques. But “Millennials Go Luxe” an article heading shouted. They joined older and more experienced collectors bidding on everything from pricy diamonds to sports jerseys, wine and handbags to watches, you get the idea.
So, my question is: Can the American antique community find ways to interest some of these Millennials in American antiques? And if so, how? (As an aside, perhaps some were more interested in 2020 but the lack of any data about collecting and sales in the American antiques industry hampers informed decisions).
I welcome your comments.