Blog by Dr. Lori

Selling Antiques to Millennials

by Dr. Lori Verderame
Selling Antiques to Millennials

Yes, it's the biggest secret nobody wants you to know. Everyone says that your kids and your grandkids don't want your antique stuff. The people spreading this lie just want you to give up your antiques so they can make a profit. They're trying to get their biggest competition--your family--out of their way. These people are dead wrong about Millennials. How do I know? I know because I've met these young collectors all over the United States. They come to my events, they follow me on my TV shoots, they watch my video tips, they contact me through my social media. They are active and engaged antiques collectors. They want to decorate their new homes and trendy apartments with aging stuff from Grandma's kitchen or Dad's den.

I met a newlywed couple in their late 20s in New Jersey who were antique store shopping while I was taping a TV episode. I asked them why they liked antiques. They said they wanted to collect antiques because unlike expensive new furniture and decorative items of today, antiques are made better and stand the test of time. They wanted longstanding objects and not stuff, like they had growing up, that just wore out and was disposable.

1. Millennials want to Remember Grandma

Millennials Want Paintings

During an event in south Florida, I met a young 30-ish couple who were thrilled to find out that a painting of a Native American at a fire pit hearth which had been hanging in their grandmother's house was going to be handed down to them. They remember the painting from their childhood hanging in their grandmother's home. I identified the painting as a major Taos School work of art and I shocked them when I told them that such paintings are worth 25,000 dollars or more on the art market. They were thrilled to have a valuable work of art that was part of their family lineage. Millennials want what's meaningful as well as valuable.

2. Millennials Collect and Flip

Millennials Buy Vases

Another young couple whom I met on my antiques appraisal comedy show tour in Michigan had just started to collect American art pottery. They had a job transfer to the Midwest from Texas and were enjoying how they met new friends locally while shopping at area flea markets, thrift shops, and yard sales. They stayed within their budget as they collected and researched how to identify art pottery from my videos filled with tips and info provided on my website. They learned how to identify famous makers like Wedgwood, Staffordshire and other really good pieces like this piece of Van Briggle pottery. At times, they sold unwanted pieces for a profit and kept updating and increasing the value of their collection. How can they do this? Because so many of you think that your stuff is worthless and don't bother spending any time to find out what you've got, instead you just sell off your stuff or give it away without bothering to find out its origin or its market value. These savvy Millennials took advantage of your laziness and cashed in. All of you think your stuff is junk and you spend no time or money finding out its true value so these smart, young collectors get the good stuff for a steal.

3. Millennials Treasure Family Memories

Millennial Keeps Sword

I met a young man in Pennsylvania who took a family trip to Paris with his parents and grandparents when he was 10 years old. Now 24 years old, he came to my events to find out the origin and value of an antique sword that his grandfather purchased for him from a flea market on that trip to France. I told him that he had a valuable rapier sword from the time of the Franco-Prussia war (circa 1870s) and he was thrilled to know more about his souvenir's history and antique value on today's market. He was not going to part with it but instead he was going to make it the focus of his newly started edged weapon collection.

The next time someone says that Millennials don't want your art or antiques, I suggest you ask them. Don't just ask your kids, ask your grandkids too. Remember, a reseller will have an easier time getting you to give away your antiques to them if they don't have your child or grandchild in the way of them making a sweet deal for themselves. Are you giving away your valuable family heirlooms and memories?

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