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Antiques

LEWES, England — The 18th-century oak bureau was expected to sell for at least 50 pounds, or about $65. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid of £30. No takers. What about £20? Again nothing. Unsold. The auction moved on.

The fate of this lot in a sale on Monday at Gorringe’s, an auction house about 50 miles south of London, was all too typical of what is happening to thousands of once-loved family heirlooms.

Of course, plenty has been written about how antique furniture has fallen out of fashion. And it’s become a routine observation that centuries-old pieces in oak or mahogany are often cheaper — if they sell at all — than their contemporary flat-pack equivalents. Ikea’s Hemnes bureau, for instance, is currently priced around $300 (Allen keys included).

But there is a specific problem with the antique bureau — a fall-front writing desk with drawers beneath — as furniture in today’s world. ImageA George III inlaid mahogany bureau that sold for £85, or about $110, in September at Gorringe’s in Lewes, England. A George III inlaid mahogany bureau that sold for £85, or about $110, in September at Gorringe’s in Lewes, England.

To read more on The New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/arts/design/antiques-home-living.html

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