Antiques Recession Proof?

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Aug 14, 2009 at 7:33 PM EDT

Has the recession turned once valuable antiques into junk?

Action News Reporter Reed Buterbaugh has the story of how the antique business is fairing in Greater Binghamton.

Laddie Vana gets requests for everything from old guitars to women's shoes from the 1940s.

"When it's been sitting around for two years and you're ready to throw it away because you think no one is every going to buy this," Vana of Odd, Old and Unique said. "That's when someone comes in and says 'do you have that left-handed widget?'"

These days, he's seeing higher demand for retro items as people try to reconnect with their childhoods.

But, overall sales have been flat.

"It's always down. It's just something you do for fun. It's a love," Vana said.

Sales are strong on the higher end as people are rethinking how they fund their retirement accounts, moving away from stocks and bonds and into appreciating asset like fine art.

"Funnel at least some of their money out of the market and into something that is substantial and real," said Kathy Reno, owner of Riverfront Antiques on Front Street in Binghamton.

Reno has seen sales rise 20 percent every year since she opened in 2004.

While her collectables are flying off the shelves, she has seen a drop in local costumers.

"I'm very lucky in that my people come from outside the area always come in and buy from me," said Reno.

"We buy antiques because we like antiques and we like their beauty. We feel they have a lasting beauty and they do have a lasting value," said Sean McGuan of Cleveland.

And while McGuan regularly takes day trips to go antiquing, he's buying less every stop.

"Pieces that I might have looked at before that I'd say maybe I'd like, now unless I really want it then I'll buy it," said McGuan.

The antique business isn't recession proof, but buyers eying investments or a piece of nostalgia keep demand up.

Antique shop owners say they've seen an increase in the number people coming into their stores trying to sell some unique valuables for cash.

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