Global trends can bring your old collectibles back into the spotlight. How do you make sure you are prepared for it?

It pays to remember that your collectibles and assets have a monetary value, which can change considerably through factors beyond your control. These items can exist in a family for generations, handed down with the value rarely, if ever, being known.

However, a new trend can completely change their worth. A simple example is during times of economic slowdown, when the value of assets such as gold and jewellery can often rise.

The impact of change

Changes in the law can play a part in how items are perceived. A new UK copyright protection law, making it illegal to manufacture or sell copies of mass-produced furniture designs after 2020, could set a new precedent for some of the more modern furniture in your home.

However, for a host of other reasons, collectible items can fluctuate in value wildly from year to year, and some of the more valuable items will have their own industry index. You can track your case of Bordeaux wines on the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 Index, for example, or the IDEX will tell you how precious your diamonds really are.

The Antique Collectors’ Club’s Annual Furniture Index (AFI) shows a general decline in antique furniture over the past decade, in terms of demand and value. The AFI apportions some of the blame to changing home trends – 21st Century kitchens often struggle to accommodate antique styles, such as high-back dressers.

However, some woods are holding their value well, such as walnut or late mahogany – so your dining room may still be housing a piece of considerable worth. 

The China and India factor

Demand from emerging economies, such as India and China, can have both a longer and shorter-term affect on the value of a host of collectibles.

The 10-day festival of Navratri, held each October in India and one of the most famous in the Hindu calendar, regularly contributes to a spike in gold prices around that time of year. Indians consider this to be the luckiest time to purchase luxury items.

Meanwhile, China was the driving force behind a longer-term boom in Bordeaux wine exports. According to the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB), exports to China grew from 12,000 hectolitres in 2005, to a stunning 538,000 hectolitres by 2012. If you were holding on to a vintage crate in your cellar, it could now be worth much more than you had envisaged.

Chinese art dealers have also developed a taste for buying items of their own heritage in recent years, so the same may apply to the antique vase sitting in your living room or packed away in the loft. In December 2015, a Chinese vase valued at £30,000-£50,000 sold for a staggering £300,000 at a fine arts showroom in Derbyshire.

What can I do?

If you do find you are suddenly sitting on a potential windfall of cash, it raises questions over how well that fortune is protected – particularly with something as fragile as a vase or a glass wine bottle.

The best thing to do is to make sure the items are covered properly. That might mean arranging a new valuation, both for your own peace of mind and to make sure you get the best deal if you decided to sell.