Banksy Devolved Parliament

2019 - another year in the bag.

In the collecting world there were thrills and spills, shocks and surprises. 

Predicting the future is near enough impossible, especially in this industry.

But I’m going to have a good go.

Below you’ll find my 7 predictions for the next year.  

Agree? Think you can do better?

Submit your own predictions at the end.

Demand for 1980s memorabilia to rise

80s nostalgia is nothing new.

People have been attending fancy dress parties dressed as Tom Cruise in Top Gun for decades. But I have a hunch that over the next year we’ll see increased demand for memorabilia connected with the era’s music stars.

Madonna autograph 1980s

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

It’s a decade filled with icons, and prices are already starting to rise. Demand for Prince memorabilia exploded after his death in 2016, leading to the sale of his cloud guitar for $700,000. And while Madonna's lawyers are blocking the sale of intimate items like her letters to Tupac, the estimates indicate strong demand. 

It usually takes time for values to mature. Those who were young in the 1980s have greater access to disposable income than before. They’re looking back over their lives. It's a clear pattern. 

Video games will mature

Over the years there has been plenty of speculation over the value of video games.

Super Mario Bros

(Image: Heritage Auctions)

In the early years gaming was a cottage industry. Games were printed on cheap plastic. They were essentially disposable and few have survived.

Today the games industry is worth billions. That means a large and enthusiastic base of collectors, eager to track down lost and forgotten gems. The secondary market finally came of age this year with the establishment of Wata Games, the first dedicated authentication house for rarities. 

A trusted authority has increased confidence, and demand is soaring. In February 2019, a Wata Games-authenticated copy of Super Mario Bros (1985) in its original packaging sold for a world record $100,150.  

More growth for modern trading cards

Trading cards were among the year’s top performers.

Tom Brady rookie card

(Image: eBay)

Interestingly, the top prices were reserved for modern pieces. In February, a unique Mint 9 2000 Tom Brady-signed Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket rookie card made $400,100 on eBay.

Then there was the 1997-1998 Metal Universe PMG Green Michael Jordan – which reached $350,000.

It’s not just sports cards. A complete set of original US Pokemon cards realised $107,010 in August.

Next year you can expect to see speculation on trading cards from future Hall of Famers. If a rookie has two great seasons, expect their trading cards to do equally well.  

The Rolling Stones to correct 

Much to everyone’s surprise (and perhaps theirs most of all) the Rolling Stones are alive and well.

Rolling Stones

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Still touring. Still recording. While most of their peers eventually succumbed to the rigours of rock and roll life, the Stones seem near enough indestructible.

The band keeps a tight grip on their memorabilia. And as they’re still active, what little is out there is undervalued. But this is likely to change over the next decade. 

Will they still be taking to the stage in their late 80s? If anyone can it’s the Stones. But it feels unlikely. I expect prices to begin to increase from this year. 

Auction catalogues to disappear  

As an old hand in the game, my office is filled to the brim with auction catalogues.

They stretch back decades.

Auction catalogues

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

My staff are constantly tripping over stacks of books from Spink, Bonhams and Sotheby’s.

But from this year auction catalogues will go the way of the dodo. The big houses are phasing them out, both to reduce costs and for environmental reasons.

And while you’ll still be able to get one if you insist, you'll have to pay for it. Plenty of people already collect auction catalogues. Will this spark a collecting boom? The jury’s out, but I’m certainly not getting rid of mine.

A bright year for street art

This year Banksy’s Devolved Parliament sold for a world record £9.8m ($12.8m).

The work is in a fine art style, rather than one of the artist’s distinctive stencils.

Banksy Devolved Parliament

(Image: Sotheby's)

This may account for the extraordinary price – which is more than six times his previous record.

I have a feeling this is going to act as a catalyst for growth in the street art market. It’s already hugely popular with younger art buyers. It’s less of a stretch than you might think. At the top end, work by Basquiat regularly sells for hundreds of millions of dollars.

High end whisky to prosper

Whisky has been one of the biggest success stories of the decade.  

That’s thanks to a growing international market, with buyers from the BRIC countries competing for classic bottlings.

Macallan 1926

(Image: Sotheby's)

Scottish producers are the most sought after, particularly Macallan – which has a global reputation for excellence and a shrewd line in limited editions. In October 2019, a bottle of 1926 Macallan sold for a world record £1.5m ($1.9m).

This result effectively prices out all but the wealthiest buyers from the top of the market. Expect to see increasing prices for lesser bottlings from Macallan and other celebrated Scottish producers in 2020.

Paul Fraser.

PS. Have a prediction of your own you’d like to share? Get in touch today at

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