The concept of collecting antique furniture is a subject that should be understood better in Spain, where the acquisition of high quality furniture during the last 4 centuries, has been the priviledge of a small minority with abundant resources. Better said, this minority would buy furniture from known and often famous furniture makers who although they used good techniques of fabrication, but very few understood the artistic guidelines of creating a fine piece of furniture, as developed in other European countries. The exact opposite occurred with paintings in Spain, where there existed in abundance some of the most important painters of Europe and the world.
Therefore this small minority kept buying from the most renowned furniture makers of each period, with the exception of the public that could travel, purchase and import fine pieces and thus start acquiring the taste of the fine points of furniture. Some furniture makers also were lucky in working in workshops of other countries and thus import their skills to Spain.
Collecting antique furniture should follow mostly the same norms of collecting in general. The norms of collecting dictate that the collector should always try to collect:
- First and foremost the best possible example of what is being collected, and not necessarily the greatest number or items. Collecting should not be an addiction.
- The best possible example also means that it should be in the best possible condition and the most original. When parts, originality or authenticity is absent, it is a bad investment.
- It has been proven that when a collectable item was expensive when first made, it will continue being expensive through the years or centuries and expensive as well as a collectible. As a collector’s guideline this should also probably be the most desirable as a collectible.
- Scarcity is definitely an important factor in collecting, however, as we have said in the “5 golden rules for purchasing antique furniture” in this Blog, scarcity should be related to Beauty and Desirability. An item may be very rare but if it is not attractive or desirable, it is a bad investment. After all, who wants to keep looking an “ugly duckling” all the time?
Daily we are offered “antique furniture collections”, which are neither antique nor attractive nor investment quality. Investment quality does not necessarily mean “expensive”. It means that when some day one wants to sell, the retail value of an item is internationally recognized and the seller can recover one’s investment if not realize a profit.