The value of ‘something old’ in Britain’s vintage boom


- 52% of British homes own a vintage item they believe has increased in value -

London, UK (21 October 2011): In the midst of a British vintage love affair, consumers are at risk of being underinsured with 57% of people admitting they don’t know the monetary value of their own vintage valuables despite thinking they may have increased in price.  

The research by specialist home and contents insurer Hiscox also found that consumers’ vintage possessions were no longer contained to the traditional fine wine (5%) and had extended to books (39%), musical memorabilia (33%) and furniture (27%). Furthermore 27% of people now consider items they already own - such as a jacket or tea set - as now being vintage with 58% having owned them for over 20 years.

Andrew Cheney, senior risk and valuation advisor at Hiscox, comments: “Vintage is an aspirational fashion that is not just growing in popularity but also in what is considered vintage. Having worked on the Antiques Road Show and as an auctioneer, I have seen the added value the label of "antique" can bring to an object. The term "vintage" now carries the same influence to make an object stand apart from the crowd and reinforce its value if you can prove its provenance or association. Personal collections have moved beyond particular items like a designer hand bags or bottles of wine to anything from old miner’s lamps to mandolins and as people acquire more it is important to understand their true worth.”

The dog ate my vintage

As more vintage collections adorn the home the research found it is everyday miss-haps that can end in disaster with 16% of those surveyed having damaged or lost a vintage item at one point. People reported losing their vintage treasure because it was dropped, lost, spilt on, stolen, damaged during repair or transit and even thrown away by unaware relatives. The research found some interesting mishaps:

§ In one case a woman bought two ancient Chinese rice bowls for £30 only to discover they were worth over £2000, however after this discovery the cleaner broke them I

§ A dog chewed the family Bible that had been passed down through generations.

§ A vintage ring hidden in a shoe was sent to a charity shop

Andrew Cheney continues: “It is important to understand the history behind vintage items whether they are bought, inherited or given as gifts and take practical steps to protect them. Vintage items are often thought of as an antique; however the real value is rooted in their provenance or association. For example, the value of a vintage guitar is for the most part reliant on its time and place in history and then being able to prove it. I remember visiting one home and was shown a well-used guitar and asked how much it might be worth. It was just a reasonably standard electric guitar, but the owner claimed it was worth £120,000 and produced a photo showing a member of the Eagles playing the instrument which proved its value.”

Hiscox’s insurance checklist for valuables

§ Keep a written record or collection journal of all vintage purchases including the item’s name, provenance, a brief description, date of purchase, and vendor

§ Ask for proof of provenance when purchasing a vintage item and keep it safe

§ Notify your insurer or your broker of any significant new acquisitions

§ Get a professional valuation every three years to guarantee that the insured value reflects current market trends

§ Keep a copy of your professional valuation with your broker, bank or solicitor for safekeeping

§ Take major items to an appropriate specialist shop each year to check them, ensuring for example with jewellery that clasps and settings are in good condition or stamps are stored appropriately

§ Have your vintage items cleaned professionally as doing it yourself or giving it to an amateur to clean might cause damage that could reduce the value of your item

§ Where possible, keep items in a suitable safe

- ENDS -

For further information please contact:

Hiscox Ltd

Lucy Northmore LCN Management +44 (0) 7921887296 [email protected]

Johanna Boland

Group Communications

+44 (0) 207 448 6494

[email protected]

Notes to editors

*1010 UK Adults (505 Male, 505 Female) in the ABC1 socio-economic group

About Hiscox

Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main underwriting parts of the Group - Hiscox London Market, Hiscox UK and Europe and Hiscox International. Hiscox London Market underwrites internationally traded business in the London Market - generally large or complex business which needs to be shared with other insurers or needs the international licences of Lloyd's. Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe offer a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as high net worth individuals. Hiscox International includes operations in Bermuda, Guernsey and USA. Hiscox Insurance Company Limited, Hiscox Underwriting Limited, Hiscox Europe Underwriting Limited and Hiscox Syndicates Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

For further information, visit















All press releases