If you ever wondered why certain tools are more popular than others and why certain types of tools command higher prices this is mainly because of the value of shared knowledge.
A rare old tool can sometimes have low value simply due to lack of understanding and information about it, this may seem strange when these tools and the companies involved in making them can be quite fascinating. It generally takes someone to dig deeper, collecting and researching them before enlighten the wider audience before they become popular.
We have seen this with subjects such as saws, drills, hammers, wrenches, gardening tools, oil stones etc and it makes me wonder how many more will come to light in the future.
A collectable tool will have a greater value than a user values them for their usefulness so as putting these tools out of reach. Which leads me onto areas on antique tools that are still valued by both user and collector.
Let’s take something such as a 19th – early 20th century Stanley smoothing plane which by age is clearly antique and aren’t so common that everyone can own one. Good examples can be bought for £50-80 which is little more than a modern Stanley plane which quite frankly is poorly made and suitable only for the DIY market. So it stands to reason why users buy these older types given that they are a more refined tool, with rosewood handles and better quality steel. Another example would be a Norris A5 post war smoothing plane which are a dream to use when set up correctly selling for prices between £150-250 which at best is the price you would pay of a new Clifton smoother plane based on the bailey design.
Did you know the first Stanley No: 1 to sell for £1000 was back in the 1990’s so why more than a 1/4 of a century are they selling for around the same or less in some cases?
So is the lack of appreciation by tool collectors really warranted? And in some cases why are collectors undervaluing those more familiar tools known by tool collectors? I guess when you look at these three planes you can quickly identify how below value the rest of the collectable plane values are at present.
Why has this happened when other areas within the collectable tool market have seen significant rises? may be its down to simple complacency or an entrenched mind set or just poor leadership from those at the forefront of the industry?
I’ve spoken to many dealers and collectors on this topic and rarely do they disagree with me when we discuss these points raised in this article. This is why I’m saying to those new into collecting antique tools and particularly when buying woodworking planes how these genuinely offer great value and there has never been a better time to get into collecting tools.
So to get back to what makes a tool collectable, desirability plays a major role, likewise these antiques are often seen as investments. These
There has been a transitional time between how thing used to be done and how the internet now plays a far more important role. Change isn’t something many people accept easily but slowly and surely there are more growing accustomed with bidding online.
This may be an explanation why things haven’t progressed as they should have in some areas in recent years but again reinforces my assessment that there are lots of room for improvement where prices are concerned.
Let’s not forget QE will also play a part with raising prices in the near future as the by-product from this has always been inflation!