My wife and I just returned from our annual week in Miami Beach where we make several visits to the convention center for the huge five day antique & jewelry show, advertised by its promoters as “the largest indoor antique show in the world”. Close to a thousand dealers from all over the world, and an amazing array of top-notch sterling siver.
We are private silver collectors and have never been dealers. We fool with silver for the sheer fun of it, but unlike most of my other hobbies (big game fishing, boating, hunting, etc) silver has been a hobby that has resulted in things that are worth a good bit more than what was paid for them. In any event, we have been going to the Miami Beach show now for at least 10 years and have gotten to know a lot of silver dealers who exhibit there, and naturally follow prices as we admire, and now and then, buy some of the beautiful silver.
After last year’s show I commented here that I was amazed that the prices seemed to be stable if not lower than they had been in years past, in spite of the huge spike in silver commodity prices in the previous year. Most of the dealers last year chalked it up to weak demand due to the global recession. In any event, this year I was amazed again - this time that the prices of antique sterling have suddently gone through the roof. I’m not talking a modest increase, I’m talking double, triple, or more over last year. The dealers postulate that the frenzy over silver commodity prices has finally caught up with the antique market and the dreaded “melt it down” is here - we have reached that tipping point where the artistic value of really good antique sterling is outweighed by the raw silver value.
Supply snd demand rule. Many dealers fear that if silver prices continue to rise the supply of antique sterling will fall, and the objects of our admiration cannot be reporduced like the originals. My view is that the really top notch sterling from top makers that is the “heart” of the antique silver market, primarily from the UK and USA will not go to the melting pot as there is enough demand for really fine silver to prevent that, but the medicine will be higher prices. That is what I think I saw this year in Miami Beach.
In any event its my theory and let’s all hope that much of this art work is not lost to the need for mere money to buy dumb things like food, clothing, shelter, etc…
So check your insurance policy to make sure your silver is properly covered in today’s crazy market and take at least minimal precautions to avoid theft and the like, and rest assured your silver is a very good investment.