W.R. Harvey & Co. (Antiques) Ltd
Archive of news from Harvey's
Letter from America
Posted by David Harvey, Thursday 10 March 2011
Letter from America.
Over the past fortnight here in the USA I have spoken to and visited a number of colleagues, friends and simple chance encounters on ski-lifts etc. It has been a fortnight of intense international activity most particularly in the Middle East leading to spiralling petrol prices for motorists, the price of a gallon rising sharply from about $3.05 in a very short space of time. There is an acceptance that there are things the government here can do to ease the situation like releasing some of the national oil stockpile as has happened previously, but the concern seems to be more focussed on what the long term effect of this blip will be on the perceived economic recovery.
There have been strong financial indicators of economic growth here over the past couple of weeks and these include a large jump in the number of manufacturing jobs available and a slide in the numbers of unemployed bringing the rate down to below 9% for the first time in over two years. There appears to be a mood of optimism amongst business people and this is vitally important for any recovery. Pessimists do not expand businesses, optimists do!
Last month I spoke to one US dealer who said he sold more fine English Antique Furniture in January this year than in the whole of last year. Another dealer explained that his recent showing at an Antiques Fair in Texas had been a success with Fine English Antique Furniture being the star performer and, most importantly, every piece he sold going to a new client. Interestingly, this echoes our own experiences with the fairs in England throughout the Autumn of last year and this year to date.
Several conversations with decoraters/designers over here have borne out the above with agreement that after a prolonged period of very thin activity, almost regardless of whether one feels house prices are rising or not, life seems to be returning to both the housing and furnishing markets with the inevitable knock on effect that this will have for Antiques. They all seem to have evidence that the new buyers coming into the market place are highly discerning and looking for value not just price.
These are very similar trends to those we have seen in the UK with many parallels between our two countries. I think the future for good Fine English Antique Furniture is bright and there will be opportunities for us both at home and abroad which is why we are also participating in the LAPADA trade mission to Moscow later this month. Over the past almost 40 years that I have been in this company, the way we do business has changed beyond all recognition and this evolution is bound to continue . Provided we adhere to our core principles of expertise, knowledge and integrity, we shall get through the next decades as well.
Everyone I have spoken to has praised our new website and the numbers of pieces already sold as a result of this initiative is very heartening. The website is still very much a work in hand as there are further areas which have come to light which we need to improve. I do thank all those many friends and clients who have forwarded their ideas and thoughts to us - keep them coming!