Quarterly Market Report: 1st Qtr 2016

April 20th, 2016 ADVISORY – Curtains for Retailers of Stuff You Don’t Need

The antiques market is not any better now than last year at this time because nothing has changed. If anything, the problem is even worse. The lethargy has spread to retail stuff stores, too (think Pier 1, K-Mart, Sears, etc). Why? Because demand is even weaker and supply is even greater. Why? Because Boomers are continuing to downsize and the trailing generations still don’t want any of it!

A NEW TREND is rapidly building momentum: The Tiny House Movement (THM). Google that phrase if you haven’t heard of it yet. Similar to the THM is a movement to fulltiming. Both are part of the “less is more” mindset and lifestyle known as Minimalism. The Greatest Generation were pack-rats and hoarders. The Boomers were too but to a lesser degree. The trailing generations have embraced minimalism with a bear hug because it makes perfect sense to them and it is why your kids don’t want any of your antique junk.

Boomers are starting to come around. Watch out! Mcmansions are fast becoming passe. ADVICE: stop buying stuff you can’t eat!

Quarterly Market Report: 4th Qtr 2015

December 9th, 2015 ADVISORY – Getting Worse for Antiques Dealers

The antiques market is not any better now than last year at this time because nothing has changed. If anything, the problem is even worse. Why? Because demand is even weaker and supply is even greater. Why? Because Boomers are continuing to downsize and the trailing generations still don’t want any of it!

ADVICE: stop buying stuff you can’t eat!

Quarterly Market Report: 2nd Qtr 2015

June 4th, 2015 ADVISORY – Getting Worse for Antiques Dealers

The antiques market is not any better now than last year because nothing has changed: Boomers are downsizing and inheriting their geezer parents’ stuff and all of this stuff is going to auction or Goodwill. The abundance and the weak demand are the reason for weakness in the marketplace.

Meanwhile the trailing generations don’t want any of it! They like Crate & Barrel. Second meanwhile, Boomers are selling their mcmansions and are buying something smaller with no stairs, no lawnmower, and a view of something, e.g. lake, park, city lights, etc.

New trend: The trailing generations are not buying houses or condos. They rent. Why? Because in today’s world they have to take a job, work it, quit it, ratchet up to another higher paying job in order to get ahead – repeat. Owning real estate for them hinders their upward mobility and lateral mobility – they gotta move frequently, maybe every 12 months. And, when they move, they move to where the action is: Silicon Valley, big city, chic urban, etc. The last thing they need to own is dirt under foot and thousands of square feet of “stuff.”

Interestingly, the Boomers buy condos (because they have cash and don’t want to move anymore). They are changing their style from whatever they had to (drum roll please) Crate & Barrel simplicity. Duh? Yes, duh. …. Because they are moving into condos and Condos are in urban landscapes. Because condos are in urban areas, Boomers are changing their style to whatever looks good in a condo. Hence, the reason rustic, primitive, shabby, Victorian brown, etc. are deader than a hay wagon full of door nails!

So, what are YOU going to do about it?

Quarterly Market Report: 4th Qtr 2014

December 1st, 2014 ADVISORY – Getting Worse for Dealers

The current market is stagnant for a long-lasting reason: changing demographics which I first noticed in January of 1991. It’s an Econ 101 lesson plain and simple. I remember several of my profs from the 1970s and early 1980s tell us students about the python and the bolus. The timeline from 1945 to the present is the snake and we the Boomers are the bolus moving through the conduit. The bolus effected/effects every aspect of the marketplace – world-wide. In the beginning it was the demand for single family homes on a plot with a white picket fence, then coonskin hats, then school infrastructure, then VWs and college infrastructure, then…..

The bolus continues to move. Boomers are rapidly downsizing across the globe and are dispersing their personal property amongst their heirs and/or are dumping what remains en masse at auction. Furthermore, uncertainty in the marketplace is manifested by dealers consuming their existing stock, commonly at diminished margins or at a loss, rather than refreshing inventories at auctions. Older dealers who remain optimistic in spite of the obvious demographics either cannot adapt or are in denial or are delusional or suffer from a combination of all of the above. Thus their retail art and antiques shops are depleted and often look haggard, a combination which tends to perpetuate demise. Hence collectors have been and are buying at auction because product availability is often far better and less expensive at auction than in retail shops. The overall effect on the market is descending retail and wholesale prices across the board.

Older collectors who remain optimistic in spite of the obvious and continue to hoard will erode the net asset value of their estate. Antiques show promoters and dealers who ignore or are oblivious of the trend will crash and burn or wither away. The show business is dead and getting deader. Dealers are old and getting older. In short order they are going the way of the dinosaur. New collectors are younger and have matured in the digital age. They will present themselves and their collections online, not so much the old-fashioned way.

In general, demand will not return to pre-2009 levels for at least 20 years, in my opinion. The reasoning is elementary: demand is weak and diminishing as supply is plentiful and increasing in a threatened world economy with clueless or hopeless younger generations. Sage advice for Boomers: dispose now rather than hope for another bubble recovery. And for you younger generations: buy! buy! buy! Dollar cost average only the crème de la crème. By the time the 30-somethings are 80 and their children are 60, what they bought cheap (now) will be expensive once again (in the 2070s). This is not just a trend, this is The New Order.

As always, there are exceptions to the New Rule: fine art by listed artists, the noble metals, mid-20th century moderne, etc. For various reasons too complex to explain on this page, each category has added strength even in these times. Seek advice before adding to one’s collection.

 

Quarterly Market Report: 1st Qtr 2014

March 31, 2014 ADVISORY – Unchanged

Refer to previous advisory. It’s NOT the economy. It’s the demographics!

Quarterly Market Report: 4th Qtr 2013

December 31, 2013 ADVISORY – Unchanged

Refer to previous advisory. It’s NOT the economy. It’s the demographics!

Quarterly Market Report: 3rd Qtr 2013

September 26th, 2013 ADVISORY – Unchanged

Refer to previous advisory. It’s NOT the economy. It’s the demographics!

Quarterly Market Report: 2nd Qtr 2013

July 31, 2013 ADVISORY – Unchanged

Refer to previous advisory. It’s NOT the economy. It’s the demographics!

Quarterly Market Report: 1st Qtr 2013

March 31, 2013 ADVISORY

The market for antiques remains unchanged: it is weak and getting weaker because the demographics are changing. The short advice for Boomers: sell. The long advice for young people: buy.

Yes, interest in antiques is getting weaker for most categories but there is still some sustained strength for specific niche categories, i.e. portrait miniatures, listed artists of some renown, 20th century moderne, vintage estate jewelry with design merit, and the noble metals. If you’re a geezer-in-training (like me), stop buying more stuff!  …It is going to be worth less before you croak, not more. The opposite is true for you young whippersnappers. Buy! Buy! Buy! And if you have a lick of sense, buy only the best and dollar cost average your purchases the same way you do when you buy equities, bonds, and other instruments that don’t collect dust.

What we are experiencing in the antiques trade now is going to continue for another 20 years. Why? Because the Boomers are dumping all of their junk into the marketplace as they downsize from their McMansions to quarters that make sense: no stairs, no lawn mower, view of a park or lake somewhere warm with lower taxes.

Pay attention to what’s happening beyond your hood ornament for once in your life! The world is a-changing. If you do not adapt — go with the flow — then you will be left behind and the assets that you have accumulated over your lifetime will slowly erode your net asset value. Your estate will be diminished by your inaction. Get your act together, NOW!

Quarterly Market Report: 3rd Qtr 2012

SEPTEMBER 2012 ADVISORY

The current market is jittery and very cautious due to several negative dynamics: e.g. national debt, runaway government spending, mandated health care and its impact on employers, the continued realignment within the Islamic World, the threat of Iran and other rogue states, rising oil futures, and the ever present threat of economic collapse of the Euro. This basket of market inhibitors has stalled business momentum when the world’s economy was improving from a deep recession that had commenced in January of 2009. Until the parameters of these risks are defined, assessed, and measured, the wider market will likely remain stagnant.

Demand for most categories of antiques and collectibles will likely remain stagnant for a different, longer lasting reason: changing demographics. Boomers are rapidly downsizing across the globe and the only reason that the rate of their downsizing effort isn’t greater is because of the weak housing market. Nonetheless, they are dispersing their personal property amongst their heirs and dumping what remains en masse at auction.

Uncertainty in the marketplace is manifested by dealers consuming their existing stock, commonly at diminished margins or at a loss, rather than refreshing inventories at auctions. Older dealers who remain optimistic in spite of the obvious demographics either cannot adapt or are in denial or are delusional or suffer from a combination of all of the above. Thus their retail art and antiques shops are depleted and often look haggard, a combination which tends to perpetuate demise. Consequently collectors have been and are buying at auction because product availability is often far better and less expensive at auction than in retail shops. The overall effect on the market is descending retail and wholesale prices across the board.

Older collectors who remain optimistic in spite of the obvious and continue to buy will erode the net asset value of their Estate.

In general, demand will not return to pre-2009 levels for at least 20 years, in my opinion. The reasoning is elementary: demand is weak and diminishing as supply is plentiful and increasing in a threatened world economy with clueless or hopeless younger generations. This is not just a trend, this is The New Order.

Sage advice for Boomers: dispose now rather than hope for another bubble recovery. And for younger generations: buy, buy, buy! Dollar cost average only the crème de la crème.

As always, there are exceptions to the rule: fine art by listed artists, the noble metals, 20th century moderne, etc. For various reasons too complex to explain on this page, each category has added strength even in the face of The New Order. Seek advice before adding to one’s collection. If you are young and clueless, now is the time to become self-informed and to buy, buy, buy! If you are a Boomer, downsize now and sell ASAP before your stuff is worth less tomorrow – and for the gods’ sake, stop buying more crap!

Watch this billionaire talk. www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9o30gNfPq_k

Brace for War

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Quarterly Market Report: 4th Qtr 2011

JANUARY 2012 ADVISORY:

In today’s market, retail collectors may realize a major loss when they consign antiques and art at auction if they purchased at the height of the market and are now selling at the bottom of this much changed market.

When sold at auction, personal properties will likely realize only a fraction of their original retail price because the auction venue is chiefly wholesale and the market is trending down and will likely continue to trend downward for at least two more decades because of changing demographics. Therefore one should expect to net 10% to 40% of the original retail price for auction-sold properties, in general. However, the end results of an auction sale of personal property may provide extreme anomalies: both significantly lower results and/or significantly higher results. Explanation: Auction sales results usually fall within a steep bell curve. The peak of the curve mostly falls in the middle of a calculated presale estimate (a low-to-high range, e.g. $200-$400). Typically, about 5% of the hammer sales fall at the bottom of the slopes on either side of this curve, and in effect, offset one another. This scenario is oft repeated around the world.

Current market stylistic trends will likely compound the loss effect. Downsizing Boomers are dumping their personal property en masse at auction. Much of that consigned property reflects the decorating crazes of the 1950s through the 1980s. Furniture collected during this period was often refinished and brown, literally, as most wood is and most period styles are. However, “brown” furniture is currently not in stylistic favor, particularly in the eastern mid-Atlantic North America northward and especially with the younger generations who apparently have no style at all. “Brown” is flooding the marketplace.

The current market continues to be jittery and very cautious due to several negative dynamics mentioned in earlier Market Reports on these pages: e.g. national debt, runaway government spending, mandated health care and its impact on employers, the recent realignment within the Islamic World, rising oil futures, the Japan 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami, and the present threat of economic collapse of the Euro.

Sounds too grim to live another day? Wait! Before you slit your wrists confer with an accredited appraiser of personal property to see if ending it all is your only solution. You may be surprised how much can be salvaged from past extravagances. Really.

Quarterly Market Report: 3rd Qtr 2011

SEPTEMBER ADVISORY: The current market trend in a word is — caution, due to several negative dynamics: e.g. national debt, runaway government spending, mandated health care and its impact on employers, the recent realignment within the Islamic World, rising oil futures, the effects of the 9.0 Japan earthquake with its tsunami aftermath, and the potential of further protracted economic meltdown in Europe, beginning with Greece. Why a European calamity now? Because the united socialist nations of Europe have yet to adjust to the reality of paying for their own defense and they’re literally rioting about having to live within their means. As in the United States, the disorganized ne’er-do-wells expect the organized frugal entities to give away wealth to those who have demonstrated an uncanny inability to manage what little they already have earned or have supped from the community trough.

This basket of market inhibitors will likely stall business momentum at a moment when the world’s economy is improving from a deep recession that had commenced in January of 2008. Until the parameters of these risks are defined, assessed, and measured, the wider market demand for art, antiques, and collectibles will likely remain stagnant in the short term except for the noble metals (silver, gold, platinum, palladium), which will continue to fluctuate as a popular commodity, and a handful of categories that appear to defy the new norm. Over the long haul, though, the some of the pummeled categories should gradually gain in value over time after market jitters subside, but not all. I do not expect the popular collectibles of the 60s, 70s, and 80s to recover: primitives, carnival glass, and the mediocre, to name a few.

Furthermore, due to the uncertainty in the marketplace many dealers have been consuming their existing stock, sometimes at diminished margins or at a loss, rather than refreshing inventories at auctions. Thus their shops are depleted and look haggard, a combination which tends to perpetuate demise. Hence collectors have been and are buying at auction because product availability is better at auction than in retail shops.

Quarterly Market Report: 2nd Qtr 2011

JUNE ADVISORY: The current market trend in a word is — caution, due to several negative dynamics: e.g. national debt, runaway government spending, mandated health care and its impact on employers that do not receive preferential government treatment, the recent realignment within the Islamic World, rising oil futures, and the recent Japan 9.0 earthquake with its tsunami aftermath. This basket of market inhibitors will likely stall business momentum at a moment when the world’s economy is improving from a deep recession that had commenced in January of 2009. Until the parameters of these risks are defined, assessed, and measured, the wider market demand for art, antiques, and collectibles will likely remain stagnant in the short term. Over the long haul though these categories should gradually gain in value after market jitters subside.

OBSERVATION: Due to the uncertainty in the marketplace many dealers have been consuming their existing stock, sometimes at diminished margins or at a loss, rather than refreshing inventories at auctions. Thus their shops are depleted and look haggard, a combination which tends to perpetuate demise. Hence collectors have been and are buying at auction because product availability is better at auction than in retail shops. The overall effect on the market is lower prices.

Quarterly Market Report: 4th Qtr 2010

YEAR END MARKET ADVICE: Various auction reports are consistent across the board. Money is fleeing toward perceived certainty, namely, the noble metals silver, gold, platinum, and also to creme de la creme art, decorative objects, and objects with provenance. The well-healed collectors and top dealers are back to buying and they are buying the best. Auction prices for the top names in fine art (paintings and sculpture), period American furniture, early porcelain, historical objects, are all back to or above where they were at their apex before the Great Recession.

Quarterly Market Report: 3rd Qtr 2010

OCTOBER ADVICE: The current trend in the market, in a word is, caution. Recent dynamic changes in the scheme of things, e.g. mandated health care and its impact on employers, has yet to be absorbed into the business fabric. Until the unknown is defined and set for the long term, and until the political dust settles after the 2012 general election, dealers will probably continue the trend they began to adopt in 2008: consumption of inventory. In other words, dealers are selling what they already have, sometimes at a loss, instead of replenishing their stock from auction venues as was once the norm. Today much of the auction activity in the art and antiques world is that of retail collectors. There are exceptions. Objects of the better sort in categories pottery, photography, fine art, and moderne furniture each continue to appreciate for different reasons. Unless the current market trends change due to forces yet to materialize, the value of the antiques and collectibles in most other categories will remain stagnant in the short term but will once again gradually gain in value over time when market jitters subside, in my judgment.

Quarterly Market Report: 2nd Qtr 2010

MAY ADVICE: We have just returned from a week at a 5-star resort on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. It was a beautiful experience with fine dining, dancing, 90′s°F, three-acre-sized pools, lush tropical gardens, and royal service from a staff of 1500 professionals that do everything but bow and scrape. Occupancy was light. Perhaps it was so because schools hadn’t yet let out for the summer, or maybe it was because the media rattled on about the risk of collateral damage from narco-terrorism. Whatever. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico have no worries about your security. These billion dollar resorts North Americans go to to decompress are made very safe because billionaires don’t like to lose business. The whole coastline was bristling with federal and municipal security forces. And our resort’s security was prominently on duty everywhere dressed in sparkling white uniforms and matching pith helmets. Oh so posh. So, take advantage of the weak economy and travel because the dollar is growing stronger and there are bargains galore! Use TripAdvisor or one of the other engines to research what’s right for you and yours. Now!

APRIL ADVICE: The boats are leaving port, people; pay attention to what’s happening all around you. I’m talking about the Boomers. They’re growing old, down-sizing, divesting, even beginning to die off in ever-growing numbers. All of that stuff that they are/were collecting that reminded them of their childhood is fast becoming passé. The generations behind them could give a twit about coonskin caps, Roy Rogers lunch pails, or (danger! danger! Will Robinson!) Lost In Space memorabilia. Consign it to auction now or your kids will wonder which part of your brain was damaged as they dump all of that junk into the nearest landfill. The Boomers’ parents hoarded stuff, too. Americana collectibles, for instance, was one of their strong favorites, which is practically a dead-in-the-water category right now. Think: butter molds, cut glass, souvenir spoons, etc. Those folks are in their high 70′s, 80′s, or 90′s now – or they have already passed on. The Boomers are the ones stuck with their parent’s stuff. They don’t want butter molds! Get a grip on reality, people. Stop buying all of the collectible crap that piles up along the wall until it threatens to cascade onto passersby. Furnish your home with top quality furniture, Oriental rugs, and art, and then stop. Put the rest of your assets into annuities, bonds, stocks, or other assets that don’t accumulate dust.

Quarterly Market Report: 1st Qtr 2010

The Exchange Rate and the Art Market: Maine Antique Digest – April issue. A pertinent article in M.A.D. relevant to art market watchers, collectors, and dealers by Daniel Grant. What do hedge funds have to do with the art market? Find out for yourself. Buyer beware.

In the Trade: Maine Antique Digest – March issue. Find out what Sheffield Massachusetts dealer, Susan Silver, has to say about the business of selling English antiques in the middle of the Great Recession. She recounts the changes that have occurred over time to her business model and also the effects of a down economy on her sources in Great Britain. A very interesting article by Frank Donegan.

The Maine Digest is the Wall Street Journal of the Antiques business. It’s a monthly periodical thick enough to choke a horse. Dealers read it like the devout read scriptures. The articles are important to gain insight, but as much can be gleaned from the advertisements. Read all of it from front to back. It’ll probably take a few hours to do so. Consider it homework.

What sold in February? Go to 1stdibs to find out. It’s an up-scale on-line retail venue for dealers of the better sort. Click on thelink that displays thousands of items that actually sold. The caption 1stdibs uses is “The Most Beautiful Things on Earth”. It’s obvious that the caption is correct as soon as one arrives. What a breath of fresh air! No shabby chic s**t here. A feast for your eyes, the answer for those wringing their hands, and the right direction to head toward for wise dealers to consider.

January, Art market: Art shark Asher Edelman: What is he? An opportunistic void filler, ruthless provocateur, omniscient genius, reckless buccaneer, …, or a brilliant businessman hacking a path through the dismal swamp of the art market? Read an excellentarticle by Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal’s Arts & Entertainment section.

Quarterly Market Report: 4th Qtr 2009

December, Art Market: Presently the middle to upper range of the art auction market is being dominated by collectors rather than dealers. Dealers have been living off of their inventory for the past 12 months; more buyers have been retail. Uncertainty in the marketplace is the cause for this short term market change. Certainty is unlikely to return until pending major legislation (Health Care, Cap & Trade, new taxes, extension/contraction of inheritance taxes, etc.) has been resolved. The discretionary economies (art being one of many) will probably not improve until business becomes accustomed to the weight of government interference. If pending legislation is approved, there will likely be a long negative lag period before the business psyche accepts new terms. Marginally surviving art dealers, ones nearing retirement, and ones disgusted with government meddling will likely throw in their towels.

October, Antiques Trade: I am pleased to report that the antiques and collectibles market is improving in the Mid Atlantic region. Apparently young urban and suburban professionals are attending antiques shows and they are buying. It seems the chief factor that is propelling them is the Green Movement. After all, antiques are recycled decorative arts, right? Why contribute to deforestation when there’s perfectly good brown furniture available in the secondary market? Look how long it took: 5000 years.

Quarterly Market Report: 3rd Qtr 2009

25 AUG 09 // Art Market Report: After five consecutive quarters of contraction, the art market finally  shows signs of life after near death experience. RE: ArtPrice.

1 AUG 09 // General Impression of Retail Market In Northern Virginia. 
Yesterday I spent the day at Tyson’s Corner in one of the two large indoor shopping malls. The parking garages were full of new American and imported cars of every stripe, but mostly by manufacturers of the better sort. Brilliant petunias streamed downward ten feet from light posts outside and from flower boxes attached to the garages’ multistory guard rails. There was a lot of foot traffic. Macy’s was busy, Banana Republic was a madhouse, and Nordstrom’s shoes department was swamped with buyer’s toting bags from other Nordstrom’s departments and from other high-end shops. I spotted a pair of Allen Edmund’s black dress shoes that I happen to own a pair of; Nordstrom’s pair was $650, about $375 more than what I had paid for mine. Swarms of people were everywhere speaking every conceivable language, wearing clothes from all the inhabited continents, many from the Middle East. Washington, D.C., with all of its embassies, is nearly in walking distance of Tyson’s; perhaps that is why there was such a wide diversity of peoples. Anyway, the short of it is this: there’s nothing wrong with the retail economy in Northern Virginia, based on what I saw Saturday. So if you’re on a dead horse, I suggest you dismount and hitch a ride to where live horses graze in back yards.

4 JUL 09 // Three major factors are influencing the antiques and art auction market: 
1. For most of 2008 the auction market was flooded with consignments because the leading phalanx of the Baby Boomer generation was aggressively downsizing. But by the end of the year the banking crisis had greatly affected the housing market; the sale of Boomer primary residences and vacation homes slowed. The contents of these residences that had been going to auction in volume, trickled to a virtual stop almost overnight. Caught off-guard,  the Boomers watched helplessly as their assets spiraled downward with the economy.

Consequently, consignments to major auction venues began to wither. Pipelines that were glutted with personal property in the fourth quarter of 2008 were depleted by April 2009 as the market dramatically downshifted. Oddly, the shortage of product was accompanied by shrinking demand, an economic oxymoron. Typically, when supply is short demand is great, but the opposite was true by mid April 2009.

Good News: The economy is presently experiencing an upward bump (JUL 09), and so too, is the flow of consignments to the top auction venue pipelines. The questions are: Will this trend continue? And for how much longer before the anticipated sharp hike in interest rates and inflation come to pass? And will hammer prices be weak or strong? Time will tell.

2. Simultaneously, the boomers are managing the disposition of personal property in their elderly parent’s estates; it too, is often sold at auction.

3. As if these demographic factors were not enough to negatively affect the secondary market, there is also a fundamental change sweeping the marketplace throughout the developed nations: younger generations prefer other styles, or sadly, no style at all.

Consequently, prices realized at auction have appeared to have reached a plateau and may now actually be in decline except for all but the crème de’ le’ crème in most categories of personal property, especially antiques and art.

Quarterly Market Report: 2nd Qtr 2009

Antiques, art, and collectibles generally appreciate over time but the current world economic fiasco has given pause to even the deepest pockets. As a result, prices for personal property have been sliding downward for the past two quarters and will probably continue the descent. There are exceptions. The crème de la crème in every category remains strong and a fine piece with a credible historical provenance may even zoom past previous world auction records, but not surprisingly, the antiques and art market is overall tepid given the circumstances. Recommendation: If one can afford it, now’s the time to buy, or, if one can afford it, now’s the time not to sell.

Bright Spot 
One collectible / art form worth mentioning that seems to be appreciating rapidly is portrait miniatures which are very small watercolors on ivory, vellum, or porcelain that can fit into one’s pocket; indeed, some are within lockets. Portrait miniatures have experienced increased demand in the marketplace in the last two years due to the scholarly efforts of multiple enthusiasts (dealers) in tandem with savvy marketing. Look for continued rapid appreciation even in this stagnate market with each newly published book on the topic.

Dark Spot 
Presently, the first $3.5 million ($5.3M in 2016) of an individual’s bequest and $7 million of a couple’s bequest are exempted. Current law provides for the estate tax to be repealed for fiscal year 2010, from 1 OCT 09 to 30 SEP 10. If Congress fails to act, estate taxes in fiscal 2011 would revert back to levels that existed before the Bush administration. The exemptions would relapse to $1 million and the top rate would be elevated from 45% to 55%. Many farms, ranches, and family owned businesses would necessarily be dissolved. Mega conglomerates would likely swoop in and pick through the wreckage. Farm and ranch hands and short order cooks might be put out of work; and that would be a shame. The big boys are already big enough.

Wet Spot 
Apparently the economy is affecting the collectible wine market, too. In a recent article written by Leslie Gevirtz, a wine topic writer for Reuters and holder of an advanced certificate from the International Wine Institute, she discusses current market trends regarding wines of the better sort. Gevirtz reports that even billionaire collectors are making adjustments. In one recent auction U.S. billionaire Warren Stephens sold 5000 bottles from his private collection for $4 million. Much of the movement seems to be toward the European and Asian markets due to the weak dollar. Read more about this market trend by clicking on the article link above.

ArtPrice’s Quarterly Art Market Report: The Ailing Art Market 
Appraisal Insitute Common Economic Indicators

Economics & Statistics Administration