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What should you look out for in 2023 when it comes to auctions and collecting? What will be hot, and where will the money be? If I could say for sure, then it’s more likely I would be cruising the Caribbean by now instead of rolling my sleeves up for another year of hard graft (although I love it really!). However, decades of experience have taught me to spot the signs, and here are a few to whet the appetite.

  • Modern British art. The wonderful exhibition running until April at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester – one of the most influential public institutions of its type in the UK – illustrates this perfectly. Inspired by the South Down and titled Sussex Landscape: Chalk, Wood and Water, nowhere does it capture the spirit of that landscape better than in the exhibition’s cover painting, Chalk Path (1935) by Eric Ravilious. Mod Brit works are here to stay, with many prices climbing.
  • Railways. A century ago in 1923, all the small, independent railway companies were brought together under the umbrella of the big four companies: LNER (London Northeastern Railway), GWR (Great Western Railway), SR (Southern Railway) and LMS (London, Midland & Scottish Railway). Railwayana already has an extensive following; expect auctioneers to mark the centenary with specialist sales, along with dedicated exhibitions at public institutions.
  • Pre-owned luxury brands. Handbags, scarves, clothing, accessories, jewellery, sunglasses – if you want to attract a mass following at auction, this is a sure way to go. Millennials, Gen Z, ladies who lunch… all of them are piling into this sector, so much so that the original brands themselves are now launching sidelines in secondhand versions of their own products.
  • Watches. With prices of new watches going up, vintage has become even more attractive. From Rolex and Patek Philippe to Cartier and Omega, there seems to be no end to their popularity and ability to hold value. Ladies and gents are both keen collectors, as are fans of engineering, luxury and lifestyle statement collectibles.