One particularly accessible niche is ancient glass, where prices start from as little as £50. The artistic and technical achievements of the craft, which developed without great knowledge of glass making, have long held a fascination for scholarly collectors.
At the middle and top end, buyers can be highly sensitive to pricing and condition, but entry-level glass appears to be gaining some traction at auction.
In a sale of antiquities and tribal art at west London saleroom Chiswick Auctions (25/12% buyer’s premium) on June 29, the glass section was among the most popular areas, with 86% of the 22-lot group finding new homes.
Highlights included this tall 8in (21cm) high Roman marbled amber glass unguentarium, above, possibly used to store oil, which sold for £1700 against a £1200-1500 guide.
The top lot at Chiswick was an Egyptian bronze statue of Osiris from the Third Intermediate to Late Period, acquired for a private UK collection in 1948. It tipped over top estimate to sell for £5500.