-------Investing in Art Deco: 3 Reasons to be prepared for the ‘20s

by Chateau Antiques May 11, 2017

The cake is ordered, the 100 candles too.  Are you getting ready yet?


It’s the big one, the mother of all milestones, and although in some ways it may seem that the party has already started, don’t worry, it’s not too late.  In fact the good news is that things are only just warming up.


As ‘The Roaring 20s’ quietly prepares to come of age and roar louder than ever, we consider how  the centenary of the Art Deco Period will affect the antiques trade so that you can be ready before everyone else.


  1. Once this party starts, there will be no ignoring it, there will be no stopping it.


It’s not really the kind of thing that will pass quietly.  The ‘20s didn’t the last time around.  In a post-war world, the sense of freedom and creativity flourished and indeed, roared.  Flapper girls started flapper-ing, cruise ships started cruising and the world became at once a more exciting and liberated place to live in.


Fashions changed drastically and rapidly and the collection of new styles we now group together and call ‘Art Deco’ was born.


100 years later, and there is no way this anniversary is going to go un-noticed.


The 1920s are going to be in the news again like they haven’t been since…well, the 1920s.  

Art Deco and the fashions of the era are going to be discussed and seen everywhere.  

Reports about the architecture, the lighting, sculptures, vases, clocks and fashions that defined the era are going to be ubiquitous as the world inevitably takes a look back in time.


We can safely say that as Art Deco passes this 100 year milestone, the world is going to know all about it.


2. The tax man is bringing a nice gift


There is not one globally accepted definition of what is ‘antique’. Some argue that with the ever increasing pace of the world, items of say 80 years of age should now be considered as antiques, but we can avoid this discussion completely as items from the 1920s pass the 100 year old marker, and any doubt is removed.


From Wikipedia - 

“An antique (Latin: antiquus; "old", "ancient") is a collectable item, at least 100 years old. It is collected or desirable because of its age, beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection, and/or other unique features. It is an object that represents a previous era or time period in human society.

It is common practice to define "antique" as applying to objects at least 100 years old”


As objects from the 1920s achieve this undeniable antique status, what might that mean from a tax point of view, and how will that affect the market?


Further to there being no one single definition of what an antique is, there is also no single international rule covering the taxation of antiques or their sale.  


What does seem to be largely true throughout the world however is that sales taxes and import duties for antiques tend to be  much lower than for pre-antique status items.


These taxes might not immediately concern the private investor or collector, but the impact it will have on the market, might;

Professional dealers will suddenly have a much more interesting proposition in front of them to market these items.  

In much of Europe for example, a dealer may have to collect and pay 20% value added tax a sale of a vintage or pre-antique item.

If he bought this item from an individual (or company exempt of collecting and paying sales tax) there would be no tax for him to recuperate from the purchase, meaning that on a €1000 sale, €200 of this would be paid in tax - just on the sale.

Once something is an antique however, this tax rate might drop from 20% to 5% or less depending on local rules, at which point we can be sure the dealer will have much more of an incentive to trade these items than they had before it was classed as ‘antique’. 


An immediate 20% or 15% rise in profits will be sure to accelerate any market - and that’s just considering sales taxes.  In many countries import duties and other taxes on trade sales between dealers will be also be affected, often being reduced to zero.


The coming tax benefits alone make this a much more profitable market place, without even considering how the increase in publicity might affect demand.


Now we have considered why this centenary is going to be big news and how the market is going to be boosted, let’s look at our third reason you should be getting ready;



3. Why it’s going to be the only place you’ll want (your money) to be seen


Once upon a time, ‘Investing Money’ meant entrusting it to a banking institution or a broker.

The events of recent years have given investors many reasons to move away from what was the traditional investment market.

These reasons include;


Being in control

Being in total control of your own assets removes doubt and sleepless nights worrying about who might badly manage or make-off with your savings and investments you have entrusted to ‘look after’ for you.  Researching and choosing exactly what one wants to put ones own money into removes the danger of trusting someone else who wants to use your money, for their benefit.


Little interest at the bank

Lets face it, even when money in the bank did attract interest, it was never that interesting, was it?  

With banks now paying next-to-nothing in terms of interest on savings and with their fees often cancelling any of that out, now is a good time to find something much more attractive to do with our money.



There are now more exciting (and beautiful) investment opportunities available 

We are no longer tied to asking someone else invest our money for us.

Researching and making investments in antiques is now so much easier that ever before.  

With a little time and the internet, we can make informed choices and purchases, all from our home or even phone if we like, without the need to pay or involve a broker at all.

Even better, we can choose things that not only look good to us in terms of numbers, but we can choose to invest in things that look good to us and we’d like to have in our homes to enjoy!


Yes, I know some people say that they find numbers on their computer screen or paper statement beautiful - but beautiful like a Charles Catteau vase or a Lemanceau sculpture is a very different thing.


By getting ready and doing research now, investors and collectors can stay ahead of the crowds and start to take their pick of Art Deco items to invest in, before the party even starts.


In one of our next articles, we will look further at the Art Deco market and consider which items might make the best Art Deco investments in the coming years and share some professional buying secrets to help get you the best deals.


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