Every year since 1968, the Antique Collectors' Club in England has published an index of the selling prices of good, mid-range antique furniture known as the Antique Furniture Price Index (AFPI). The index of prices in 2001 has just come out. We thought you'd be interested in its main findings.

Price Increases by Period of Furniture

Early Oak (17th and early 18th century): Prices rose by 13%, continuing the strong trend begun in 2000 when they increased by 17%. This category has posted the largest increase for two consecutive years.

  • Early Walnut (Queen Anne to George II): Up 9%, following a rise of 19% in 2000.
  • Early Mahogany (1720-1760): Up 6%, after 10% in 2000.
  • Later Mahogany (1760-1830): Up 8%, after 14% in 2000.
  • Regency: Up 4%, after 13% in 2000.
  • Victorian and Edwardian: Up 3%, after 10% in 2000.
  • Country Furniture: Up 5%, after 14% in 2000.
  • All Categories: Up 7%, after increases of 13% in 2000, 4% in 1999, and 5% in 1998.

Comparison with Other Financial Indicators for 2001

Once again, the AFPI outperformed all other indicators. The stock market fell, the cost of living remained about the same, and house prices rose slightly.

John Andrews, the author of the AFPI, believes that the increase would have been higher but for the events of 9/11 and the subsequent absence of American buyers from the market. He says that the first three months of 2002, however, have shown clear signs of a recovery. Andrews points out that antique furniture "is traditionally an area that does better when the stock market and other types of investment are doing badly." He also points out that high-end special pieces always appreciate more rapidly than the mid-range ones that he tracks, and that the index would be higher if it included them.

Long-Term Comparison

From its base of 100 in 1968, the AFPI now stands at 3575. (A piece that you could have bought for $100 in 1969 will cost you $3,575 today). This increase is more than twice that of the stock market, more than three times that of the cost of living, and slightly more than the cost of housing.

N.B. All data are from the UK: we cannot find comparable data over here.