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The Best Antiques to Invest In

19 February 2024
Inspecting old antique coins

It is no secret that the world of antiques can be an absolute goldmine, with rare finds leading the way to wealthy valuations. The UK's antique market is expanding; antique dealerships and art galleries around the UK have grown by more than 31% in a decade, according to a study by the British Art Market Federation (BAMF) in 2023. People do not just choose to collect antiques - many people choose to invest in them too. Why do they do so, and what are the best antiques to invest in?

Why Do People Invest In Antiques?

There are a number of reasons why people invest in antiques, most of which revolve around the fact that many antiques increase in value over time, depending on their condition and relation to significant eras or historical figures. Antiques possess intrinsic value, derived from factors such as craftsmanship, rarity and the previously mentioned historical prominence, holding and increasing their value much more effectively compared to ephemeral consumer goods.

Many individuals will use antiques as an alternate investment strategy for their wealth preservation, since the financial market can be volatile; widening investment strategies can mitigate risks and optimise returns. Similarly, antiques can be used to diversify an investment portfolio, making their overall portfolio more resilient to market fluctuations. Alongside this, antiques are tangible assets, so they can be physically displayed in the home, unlike most other forms of investment, like stocks and bonds.

What Types of Antiques Are the Most Valuable to Invest In?

The type of antique is particularly important for determining how worthy an investment it will be, as well as its historical relation, rarity and quality. If you are looking to invest in antiques from a dealership, either at a physical auction or online, you may want to consider some of these types of antiques as a priority;


Furniture is a popular type of antique which is more commonly invested in; fine antique furniture from historical periods such as the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian eras can increase in value over time, especially if they are preserved well and made by renowned craftsmen. Popular TV shows can influence the value of antique furniture, with shows such as Bridgerton /Salvage Hunters increasing the demand for classic furniture in audiences young and old.


Investing in artwork such as paintings and sculptures by well-known artists can often yield significant returns; this is a good example of a tangible asset, which can be enjoyed in the home and potentially increase in value over time too. Artwork is particularly important to be checked for authenticity as this will significantly impact its value; research and expert advice will be needed to do so.

Clocks and Watches

Antique clocks and watches, most notably those made by respected makers such as Rolex or Patek Philippe, can often be valuable investments, especially if they are in working condition. Grandfather clocks are another good example of an antique to invest in, especially if they are from the “Golden Age” of clock-making, between the 1660s to 1730s.


Antique silverware often retains or increases its value over time; tea sets, decorative items and flatware are all good examples of silverware which could be worth investing in. Pieces produced by reputable silversmiths or those with unique designs tend to perform well in terms of value increase over time.

Ceramics and Porcelain

Fine porcelain and ceramics are another strong antique investment choice, especially if they are pieces by renowned manufacturers like Royal Copenhagen, Crown Derby, Royal Doulton or Wedgwood. Antique porcelain and ceramics are some of the oldest forms of art, and ageless ones too, so they are more likely to increase in, or at least retain value over time. Investors may look to start their antique collection by purchasing porcelain and ceramics from auction houses, as they are normally accessible as well as valuable.


Antique and vintage jewellery, particularly pieces with high-quality gemstones or by internationally renowned designers such as Tiffany & Co. and Cartier, can appreciate in value over time. Like porcelain and ceramics, jewellery is an accessible antique at many auction houses, but proper research and consideration of age and condition will indicate how valuable the investment could turn out to be.

Textiles and Rugs

Antique textiles, such as tapestries, rugs and quilts can be very valuable, most notably if they have historical relevance, are made with traditional craftsmanship, are rare, and are in good condition. Examples of textiles and rugs which are particularly valuable include Ancient Persian, Deco Chinese, Moroccan Kilim and Tribal Shahsavan.

Books and Manuscripts

Rare books, first editions and manuscripts can be lucrative investments, particularly if they relate to historical figures and events, and are in good condition. This is a lesser-known type of antique to invest in but can be just as valuable, if not more valuable, than typical items found in auction houses. Look for first-edition books by authors such as Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens and Ian Fleming.

How to Tell That an Antique Is Authentic and Valuable

If you invest in antiques or are considering investing in them, you will want to know that you have authentic and valuable items that could retain or increase in value. Research is the most important thing you can do, using both online sources and visits to specialists. Comparing antiques with similar items from reputable sources is a good indicator of their value and verification from antique dealerships and specialists can confirm an antique's authenticity. Look for markings and signatures that could confirm an antique is genuine, such as an original signature on a first edition book, or markings on a grandfather clock to confirm the maker.

Are You Looking for an Auction House to Start Your Antique Investments?

At Cullens of Surrey, we have a large selection of antiques available in our weekly-updated online auctions, or you can visit us in Wallington, Surrey (appointment only). If you’d like more information, please get in touch with us today.

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