England has gone on sale for American buyers
The Fall of the Pound and the Rise of Arts and Antiques Buying in Britain
Toma Clark Haines The Antiques Diva Offers Insight on Navigating Britain After Brexit
It has never been better to buy antiques in England than now. With the shocking result of the Brexit vote, which set into motion the process of the United Kingdom separating from the European Union, the pound has plummeted to a record low. As investors panic and world markets convulse at this historic decision, some find reason for optimism.
Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co, Europe’s largest antiques touring company, operates a network of buying guides, personal shoppers and antiques consultants out of 8 countries, including the United Kingdom. Relying heavily on positive economic trends for successful business in Europe, Clark Haines sees a silver lining with Brexit.
“As an American business owner living in Europe, much of my business is in the United Kingdom. While deeply dismayed by Brexit, I also realize this is an incredible opportunity for my American customers to take advantage of excellent buying conditions. For the short term this is about exchange rates and buyers getting the most value for their money,” says Clark Haines. “With the pound to US dollar exchange rate being down 20% in just two years and down 40% since before the ’08 financial crisis the time to buy is now! Not only will US buyers lower their purchasing and shipping costs, but bringing business to Britain during this time helps support the local economy and gives art and antique dealers support during what will inevitably be a difficult time.” While the greatest impact on the exchange rate will most likely be short term the exchange rate will have long-term implications with experts predicting a devaluation of the pound for the next decade.
In short, England has gone on sale for American buyers.
Despite Brexit woes and the uncertainty hitting the United Kingdom, one thing is certain: business will go on. The Antiques Diva & Co which operates out of multiple locations in the UK with a network of “Diva Guides” continues to help clients with a massive range of services that assist dealers, collectors and regular travelers in buying antiques overseas – from custom planning antique buying tours, to translating, negotiating, and either utilizing their in-house art and antiques transport service or liaising clients with their preferred 3rd party international art and antiques shippers. Clark Haines, echoes the sentiments of the British Art Dealers Association (BADA) “The UK art and antiques market is a global centre of excellence. We now have an opportunity to both invest and ensure that we can take a significant role in helping to shape the UK economy and our relationship with Europe and the wider world.”
Having weathered the challenges of economic volatility before during the 2008 crisis, The Antiques Diva & Co offers some tips on navigating the UK market amidst the Brexit turmoil.
- Keep Calm and Carry On. The old WWII adage holds true now more than ever.
- The exchange rate is your friend. Follow it to see how and when you can save money. With England essentially “on sale” as the pound plummets not only does this save antique and art buyers money on purchases, but gives more bang for the buck on collective travel costs overall from airfare and hotel to food and ground transportation.
- Take advantage of the travel discounts. In addition to discounts due to currency exchange, airlines and hotels are offering additional post-Brexit discounts to encourage travelers to come overseas. Virgin Atlantic has dropped airfare from the States to London as low as $500 roundtrip.
- Note… this discount doesn’t just apply to Britain but to the whole of Europe. These are turbulent economic times which means there are fewer travelers to Europe overall – which for art and antiques collectors & dealers means it’s a buyers market. Less buyers means less competition and thus better prices and more availability of goods. And then you get the benefit of the good exchange rate on top.
- During volatile times in the stock market, art and antiques are often looked to as a wise alternative to traditional investment for well-heeled investors. While they do not typically yield quick returns they can be a safe place to store money when looking at a minimum investment of 5 years. Art values rose 14 since 2014 and 252% in the last decade. In 2015 England held 19% of the total value of global auction sales of art & antiques. This was the largest share among European countries and with these new currency conditions investing in art and antiques offers buyers additional incentive to buy.