A collector I know has proved very successful in identifying trends – perhaps even creating them himself – by taking calculated risks as a pioneering force. Describing himself as a ‘homesteader’, he has acted like one of the great pioneers of the West in the 19th century, heading out and staking his claim before seeing if it yields anything of value.
The thing about people like this is they accept that a lot of the time their efforts will yield very little, but it’s all worth it because here and there they hit paydirt.
So, look about you and ask yourself a few questions. What do you see that will stand the test of the time? Does it have mass appeal? In time, will items associated with this field decline sufficiently to create that vital rarity factor… but not become so rare that not enough of it is left to sustain a collecting base? Does it have the potential to create a strong sense of nostalgia? Perhaps have retro or kitsch value? Is it the sort of thing that could be a future design icon or simply a fascinating piece of history?
One of the best ways of doing that is to see what is coming into fashion now.
A superb example is memorabilia and particularly photographs linked to the Apollo missions of the 1960s. At the most important art and antiques fair in the world a few years ago, one dealer devoted his entire stand to photos from the Apollo missions. Not only was it a stunning display, but it was also able to capitalize on the fact that it was building up to the half century since man first landed on the Moon in 1969. Momentum always accelerates as you get closer to a significant anniversary.
First generation iPhones only date to 2007 – only 15 years ago. Yet in February, one of these, still factory sealed in its box, took $63,000. And that’s the key with items like this: condition is everything. In mint condition is good; still in its original box is better; factory sealed is best!