Art Collectors Focus Featured

Silver shines again




Antique silver is finally showing signs of life, heralding light at the end of a tunnel say Barnebys, the art auction search engine that hosts 3,000 auction houses on its global site.

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Grete Prytz, Blomquist Auksjoner, Norway

Antique silver, depressed for so long that much of our silver heritage has been smelted down, is finally showing signs of renewal alongside other indicators that the art market generally has turned a corner.

Underlining this happy news is the latest Art Basel and UBS Report by distinguished academic and art market pundit, Clare McAndrew who says that 2017 saw a turning of the corner for the art market generally up by an average of 12% globally. The US and China show the greatest gains up 16% and 14% respectively. The UK is up 8%.


Bukowskis SwedenFor many years antique silver, already struggling, was one of the hardest hit when the huge $63.8billion international market in art and antiques suffered a downturn in 2008 and again in 2014.

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Soupiere et son bureau de representation

Two years ago Barnebys advised that it was a very good time to buy antique silver objects, candelabra, dinnerware, snuff boxes, any kind of beautiful ornamental silver. “It’s a bargain at current prices,” said Pontus Silfverstolpe, co-founder of Barnebys. That advice would have paid off handsomely for anyone taking his advice had they waited two years to sell.

One of the UK’s leading antique silver dealers, Koopman Rare Art have just reported record sales at Maastricht. As an example says Koopman was an impressive 1814 George III silver gilt Ambassadorial mirror plateau once owned by Baron Stewart, later 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (1778-1854), who fought with Wellington in many of his campaigns and was a politician and diplomat of note. The plateau was bought by a private collector (Asking price: £275,000).

Barnebys own massive data banks show conclusively that silver is back! Pontus Silfverstolpe says: “You can see it in prices being achieved and also the number of sales. Both are starting to riise.”


VATTENDROPPARE silver troligen Egypten 1900-talets första hälft

One of the greatest merits of Barneby’s massive art and antiques database is its ability to track the values of the commodities it covers – art, antiques, wine, cars – some dozens of specialist collectable items. Barneby’s is the world’s largest and fastest growing art and antique search engine and covers 3,00 auction houses internationally, from the best known names in the business – Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips – to the local auction house near you.

As a result the company is constantly being asked what is hot and what is not, what is up and what is down in art and auctions sales. If you want to invest in art and antiques what should one be looking at?

From being one of the safest investments, something that always found a ready market, antique silver two years ago had hit rock bottom and was many times cheaper than it’s smelting value as ingots of silver. In the past, one’s fortune was often counted in silver, one of the oldest precious metals known. For most people it was their silver spoons that were the future pension, and a pair of well-polished candelabra from any of the great masters could be exchanged for a whole building in central London. Silver was therefore the first thing that was hidden or buried when the enemy attacked. Sadly this has not been the case for a decade.

This has had a terrible effect on beautiful antique silverware, much of it is being melted down and turned into silver bullion instead of existing as lovely antique and well functioning coffee pots, napkin rings, elaborate bread baskets, candelabra or other ornamental objects which used to grace the tables of the rich and famous.

A fine Georgian coffee pot in the 1980’s would have sold for £1,500; a few years back you could pick them up for £800 to £1,000. This posed the question, has antique silver become worthless?

The answer is no! There is a light at the end of the tunnel now when it comes to antique silver and silver’s existence as beautiful objects as the market is indicating. The generally prevailing trend in the secondary market is that quality still counts, regardless of category, materials or age. And this is true of silver. The best of the best continues to hold its value.

What people are particularly looking for today is the unusual object with provenance. It is now time for new generations to start using silver again, to understand and appreciate the value of quality and durability and the intrinsic beauty of this ancient and much valued precious metal.

Pontus Silfverstolpe says: “Because so many silver works were melted down for their scrap value, we will see a higher interest and much higher prices for those items that survive the current smelting madness. Supply and demand will as ever have a rectifying effect.”

So Barnebys would advise you to join us online and see who is holding serious silver auctions and to get current valuation for your silver. There are bargains to be had out there that are both stunningly beautiful works of art and also quite often very functional as dinner services or as decorative objects with intriguing histories. Given that silver prices are now rising again its investment value is once again a reason to buy silver.
Find out more at

For more press information please contact Barnebys UK press office

Julian Roup on [email protected] or call 01892 669200 or 07970563958.






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Real Riviera Editorial

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