What is the future of antique shows?

I am now publishing once a week, on Monday.


Remember the Pier Antique Show in NYC?

What is the future of antique shows? Will they fail or survive? It’s an existential question for antique dealers like myself. We used to exhibit at more than twenty shows per year. Now we’re down to six. Important shows have folded, like the Pier Show in NYC, which I really miss. It’s amazing that we have no show in NYC.

The Baltimore Summer Antiques Show is held in the Baltimore Convention Center

The recent Baltimore Summer Antiques Show was the smallest it’s been in decades, as the attrition rate among dealers is high and increasing. Most antique dealers are in the age range of 60-80, with very few younger dealers coming in to take the places of the older ones retiring or dying. If 50-100 dealers a year drop out of important shows like Baltimore, the shows will reach a critical mass, below which they will fold. Personally I never saw this day coming until I had an inkling about 10 years ago.

Auction houses, on the other hand, are doing brisk business. Many of the baby boomers, who form the majority of collectors, are aging out. Their children consign their estates to auction, many without reserve. Auction houses don’t really care what they’re selling, as long as they’re selling. If items have no reserve, they’re guaranteed to sell and the auction houses are guaranteed to make their commissions.

Morphy Auctions in Denver, PA, is doing a brisk business

I never intended to retire from the antiques business, but the business may retire me. I’m switching tactics and trying my best to do more business from my website. If I could replace the income generated from antique shows with income from my website, I’d be a happy camper. Since a lot of the action has shifted to auctions, I utilize those too.

The future of the antiques business for me is murky. The changes are happening quickly and I’m trying to adjust accordingly. Only time will tell, so keep tuned.


No shows until Antiques + Modernism Winnetka (IL), November 1-4, 2018. We always look forward to our twice yearly exhibits in the greater Chicago area. But remember we’re still very much in business between shows, so please don’t hesitate to email or call. 

I recently listed some of the new items on my website and will list more every week. Click Philip Chasen Antiques to take a look. I will make every effort to actively list new items as often as time permits. I always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on my website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps. And remember to keep reading my blog.

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