The pound hit a record low against the dollar on September 26, falling to $1.03 – down 20% since the start of the year.
Although it has rallied somewhat since Rishi Sunak became prime minister, it is still around $1.15, making it attractive for US buyers to shop in the UK.
Interest from US bidders at online auctions has increased and recent buys heading stateside include a militaria collection from a Polish soldier which sold in Lincolnshire, to an American museum for £8200 (see the Militaria feature on page 28).
Bennie Gray, owner of Grays Antiques and Alfies Antique Market in London, said: “One slender silver lining to the cloud of our current economy is the exchange rate.
“Jewellery has an international price so it makes it cheaper in London currently. Our dealers are getting more US visitors and buyers.”
A number of exhibitors at the autumn edition of The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea Park (which ran from October 4-9) also noted enthusiasm from US buyers.
For example, Timothy Langston sold his collection of 40 toadstool garden ornaments to a buyer in Los Angeles for £8000 (see Dealers’ Diary, page 38).
Also last month Japanese art dealer David Thatcher sold a dozen pieces of samurai armour and weaponry via his Instagram to the US (ATG No 2563).
However, for UK dealers selling in the US, the advantages can somewhat be outweighed by the increased costs.
Furniture dealer William Cook is flying out to stand at antiques shows in Winnetka and Houston in November but says he expects the benefit of a rising dollar to be wiped out by costs of flights, hotels and shipping.