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The survey, which will be launched officially at the LAPADA Fine Art and Antiques Fair at the Commonwealth Conference and Events Centre in London on October 10, was commissioned by Michael Day of Queensberry Antiques of Bury St Edmunds. A dealer in high quality period furniture, he wanted to compare relative values for furniture against a wider economic background to gain a true picture of their investment value.

He commissioned the survey from John Andrews, a respected authority on English period furniture, who has written frequently about price trends in the field from the 1960s to the present, as well as writing a number of important books on the subject for the Antique Collectors’ Club.

Headline statistics from the survey, which covers the years 1968 to the present, show that, on average, to buy a piece of period furniture today that cost £100 in 1968, one would have to pay £3349. The survey also shows that by comparison £100 invested in the stock market over the same period would now be worth just under £2000 while the same sum invested in housing would now yield about £3000.

Mr Andrews, who notes that while values fell during the 1990s, the overall changes across the 33-year period showed significant rises all round. Of the seven antique furniture categories included, even the smallest rise (for late mahogany) saw £100 turn into £2469, while the biggest leap came with early Victorian furniture, which rose to £4022. Even taking into account transaction costs, these would offer a very significant return on the original investment.

Mr Day had planned to publish the survey later in the year but brought the date forward to coincide with the fair and to help boost confidence in the trade at a time when it needs it. He said that part of the reason he commissioned the survey was to show potential customers that prices being charged for fine period furniture today were competitive and reflected the investment value of the pieces.

Anyone wanting a copy of the survey can pick one up free from Mr Day’s stand (number M120) at the fair, which runs until October 14.