Antique dealers hurt by tough economy

STRATFORD - Antique dealers in Connecticut say the slumping economy has forced them to drop prices, creating a potential boom for collectors.

Dealers say prices have dropped in the past year, but some collectors have capitalized and added to their collections. Ron Ritacco, who has collected antiques for five years, says he knows a bargain when he sees one.

?When I first started, [prices] were reasonable, then they went up slightly,? he says. ?I've noticed in the past two years they've gone down.?

Stephen McKay says his antiques sales have dropped 15 percent in the past year. ?People just aren't spending the big bucks anymore, they're spending half of what they did - a quarter of what they did,? he says.

According to McKay, furniture is taking the biggest hit. ?If you're used to selling big pieces of furniture, you fade away from that and sell smaller items,? he says.

Bruce Bruchac, who has been buying and selling antiques on eBay for three years, knows that money is tight.

?I guess in today's economy people are a little shrewder in what they're willing to bid on,? he says.

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