What will happen to antique shows?

Our booth last year at the Baltimore show

The promoter of the Baltimore Summer Antiques Show, Scott Diament, told me in an email that the show has been postponed to November 12-15, 2020. Personally we decided that we would not exhibit this year regardless. Most of the exhibitors and most of the attendees are senior citizens and therefore part of the most vulnerable part of the population. I can’t imagine dealers or attendees willing to risk their health to travel to the show. Will the situation will be materially better by November? Doubtful, in fact it may be worse. The Spanish Flu of 1918 came back with a vengeance in the fall.

Our booth in Miami Beach, January, 2020. Seems like a lifetime ago.

What makes any show attractive is its size, diversity and quality. Baltimore and Miami Beach are the best examples. They attract serious buyers willing to travel great distances. Serious dealers, serious buyers — the formula for success. Shows that rely only on local clients often struggle as there aren’t enough good clients to go around.

The Chicago Merchandise Mart show was postponed from this month to the fall.

The antiques show business has suffered over the last decade as a result of the graying of the dealers and clients. There are far fewer dealers and far fewer clients than even a decade ago. Many shows have folded permanently. Unfortunately I think the pandemic will accelerate the process. I wonder if there will be any decent shows left when the crisis is finally over. And that won’t happen until not only the creation of a vaccine, but the actual inoculation of the public — a process that could take 12-18 months.

I really miss the good shows, but wishing will not make them appear. In the meantime, tune into my blog and check my website. I really will be working on listing more and more items.

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