High-end items worth buying before the recession ends

Whether you believe the recession is ending or just taking a breather before the economy dips again, there are ways to take advantage of the decline, and products to buy or items to invest in while consumer pricing is still depressed. Shoppers are headed back to the stores, albeit tentatively, so if you're in the market for one of our picks and can afford it, the time to consider buying is now.

Just keep in mind that not all buys are good buys. If you think there are good deals to be found in the art world, or estate items to be snapped up cheap from panicked sellers, forget about it, say the experts. The super rich are still super rich; it's the middle class on down that have suffered the most. Art, fine jewelry, and antiques have pretty much retained their worth, and auction houses are still racking up record sales. Luxury lines with limited production have also managed to maintain their cache -- and high prices. Instead, look to mid-tier brands and aspirational labels for the best deals and consider taking advantage of the stronger dollar pitted against a weak euro -- you just might snag something you never thought possible.