In the field of art & antiques there are still some rich areas for the thoughtful collector who will be rewarded not only with the pleasure of being surrounded by wonderful objects, but eventually with a decent return on their initial investment too. The vagaries of fashion are of course a major influence on such matters, but at the head of the market, top quality and rarity always seem to sell. Fine art is becoming (or already is) an expensive playground but there is certainly scope within the Decorative arts for new collections to be built from limited resources. French Art ceramics of the 1940's-50's are a case in point, and a growing area. At the top of the pile, as in painting, Picasso sits like a behemoth, influencing all others and leading the market in price, the work he created as one offs and in series at Madoura with the Ramies proving a gilt edged investment. As the names become more obscure and designers are revaluated and the market redjusts, the names of Jouve, Masson, Szekely, Pignon and Borderie are also achieving startling prices. There is a rarified atmosphere around the reputation of these ceramicists - half craftsmen, half sculptors. Their work was certainly never cheap, but its price has escalated hugely in the last ten years or so. The next tier down, Derval, Capron, Chambost and their ilk are still reasonably affordable and I think this is where the opportunities lay. Rare designs and one off pieces are the key items to look out for, and as Picasso ceramics continue to escalate in price, I can only see the price of his followers increase too, especially as some were directly in his circle at Vallauris.