The market today is flooded with reproductions of antique primitive arts, but if you stumble upon the real thing at a good price you should definitely buy it. Look for signs of wear and patina, as well as hand stitching or tool marks. If you can buy these items low, you will probably be able to sell them high. Here are 9 primitive antiques you should always snap up when you see them being sold for a decent price.
9) High Quality Handmade Baskets
Exceptional pieces of Nantucket, Navajo, or Shaker basketry should have good resale value no matter the area or the era. The tight weave and pleasing designs make them true American classics. Even mid-century pieces in these styles will still sell for notable prices, so never pass up a good deal on these ever-desirable baskets. Be wary of any kinds if imperfections or signs of shoddy work: these are most likely of inferior quality and will not be good investments.
8) Shaker Boxes
There are many imitations being made and some are quite good quality. But, for authenticity stay away from shiny or perfect-looking Shaker style boxes. As the Shaker religion has declined rapidly over the past 150 years with only 2 surviving members today, be wary of anything that claims to be a “new” Shaker item. Shaker boxes are great to collect since they pack a wallop without taking up much space. A large Shaker box recently sold for nearly $700.
7) Bird Decoys
Depending on the age and the species represented, antique bird decoys can have a variable price, from only $20 at the low end to over $1,600 on the high end of average. In 2007 2 different decoys sold for $1M each. While it’s unlikely that you’ll find one of these million dollar birds at the bottom of a trunk for a pittance, the market for these birds has been very active for many years. Plainly put, decoys are appealing to a wide range of folks from country types to billionaires.
6) Penny Rugs
These charming rugs were made from tiny scraps cut into coin-sized pieces (hence the name) and then sewn together. The most materials are wool and burlap and these quirky pieces tend to sell for good prices in most situations. They were common in the South during and after the Civil War since goods were hard to come by at that time and place in history due to at first to trade embargoes and then later to sheer poverty. Depending on the size these rugs can fetch a few hundred dollars each or more.