One of the items on my list of to-do's is to become a regular visitor to the local antique malls. There is a concentration of them in our downtown so this weekend I wandered through two of the largest. A quilt appraiser I shadowed for a day kept a notebook with "observations" on availability and values when she went to stores and shows so I am starting to do the same thing. I find it much easier if walking through the doorway I remind myself "I am only stopping for quilts and quilt related items...." (Otherwise I am in there forever...as it was I stayed at the stall selling vintage Christmas "stuff" way too long! Thankfully I convinced myself I didn't need the silver Christmas tree, the salt shakers in the shape of drunken reindeer, nor the musical Christmas tree stand from the 1960's...but it was so fun to see!)
One of the challenges in this area is not many quilts make it to market an the ones that do are in poor to fair condition. In the case of doing appraisals most of them I would have to let the client know it wasn't really worth an appraisal. (and that happens a lot.)
The owner of one of the malls was really nice when I told her I was working towards quilt appraisal certification. Her take on the local market was really nice quilts never make it to the market because either a. the family holds on to them b. when she buys them at auction she sells them to known collectors/decorator so they never even get into the store (limited supply) c. if they do make it into a stall a good to excellent condition quilt sells quickly.
On the other hand fair to poor condition quilts that just a few years ago still sold well are now not moving. They had several quilts in the under $200 range. Only one of them was interesting. The same is true for quilting accessories or related items. Only the very best sell and then sell quickly.
So all in all a good learning experience. I'll continue to visit at least one a week and keep my notebook.