Max Beaumont is an auctioneer and valuer at Dukes Auctioneers in Dorset where he conducts 20th-century valuations, including Poole and Moorcroft. Passionate about decorative arts, Max is also a member of the Antiques Young Guns.
What areas/items are currently selling well?Small collectables such as wristwatches, jewellery, silver, coins and ephemera. Decorative Arts and 20th century are also selling well, as buyers are now looking for more of a ‘look’ to furnish their homes, so iconic art deco posters and mid–century enamel advertising signs are certainly on trend at the moment. Watches are certainly one to ‘watch out’ for if you ‘have the time’ – good makers such as Cartier, Breitling, Omega, Patek Phillipe, Jaeger Le Coultre and Rolex seem to be a safe investment, with prices appearing to be increasing year-on-year.
What antiques do you have at home?I have got bits scattered all over the place and have a real general mix of both antiques and modern, but, overall, I have a real interest in Decorative Arts, silver and anything that screams quality whether it be old or new.
What do you think will be the antiques of the future?I believe the antiques of the future will be items of my era (late-20th century), including electronics such as game consoles, mobile telephones and collectables toys. I also believe jewellery and watches, gentleman’s accessories and smaller collectable antiques seem only to be gaining in value.
How is the industry changing and what will it look like in the future?Over the last decade, the antique world has altered in what has become fashionable and collectable with buyers looking to furnish their homes with mid-century modern to late- 20th century furniture and furnishings. Also the change with online business has meant that both collectors and buyers are now able to purchase items from around the world. I believe that the online marketplace will grow even more as people are leading busy lives and not prepared to wait to purchase.
Tell us some trade secrets – what are your top tips for buying antiques?I was always told by an old client of mine: “Always buy quality and you will never go wrong, my boy”. I have stuck to his advice and it has never failed me yet. Always buy what you like and, of course, what you can afford, as long as you like it that is the main thing.
What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?I am a big fan of modernist, late-20th century silver – designers such as Gerald Benny with his textured bark effect designs are among my favourites, along with Arts & Crafts metalwares by leading designers Archibald Knox and Christopher Dresser. Paintings by Irish artist Padraig Macmiadhachain who sadly passed away earlier this year and several sculptures by Geoffrey Dashwood… just to mention a few things!
You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?I think I would purchase a nice piece of small collectable silver or a piece of Poole Pottery. Being a local boy born in Dorset, Poole is very close to home. It has become very affordable over recent years and there is such a wide variety of pieces produced throughout the 20th century, whether it’s the bold and bright colours of their Delphis range from the 1970s or the traditional geometric designs of the 1930s – there is something for everyone.
Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations?A good provincial fair. Shepton Mallet and Kempton Park are my personal favourites. Such a buzz, but I spend most time wondering around talking to old friends.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?Not going that extra bid on a special item, especially when I am on the rostrum selling the item to you!
Do antiques appeal to young buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach out to them?Yes, I feel young buyers are interested, however, I feel that they are more interested now in achieving a look rather than looking for quality pieces that people may have done thirty years ago.