Thursday, July 17, 2008

Antiques & Collectibles: What's in a Name?

Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica

One of the things I get to enjoy most is checking auction treasures sent to me by 31 Club Members. Stephen sends me a flier almost every week, and I think he's becoming very knowledgeable on what to look for when he attends auctions. I always email him back with a list of the items in that auction I'd be interested in if I were attending. However, Stephen learned a very important lesson last week. His eye told him that the three pieces of McCoy pottery were unusual, and he purchased them. But, he didn't check them carefully enough before he bid, because when he got them home, he discovered two had damage. Because he bought them right, and in fact, I think they may be rather rare, he still may salvage something.

Julie. sent me an auction flier where there were two pieces of Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica porcelain being offered. One was a platter and the other was a covered vegetable bowl. I told her if they sold for a hundred or two she should pick them up. Well, her report back to me wasn't what I wanted to hear, but my idea was great. If you ever see any Flora Danica be sure to give it the once over, and if it can be purchased right, take advantage of it. Most dealers would just consider it china. However, at this auction, there must have been some knowledgeable people in the crowd, because the platter brought $1500 while the covered vegetable bowl went to the highest bidder at $2000

Another item at the sale caught my attention and it was a Dale Chihuly bowl. Pieces by this glass artist can bring tens of thousands of dollars. Often his work is composed of a bowl and then three to five additional pieces inside of it. This was just a single bowl and nothing exciting, so I thought that it may have gone for $500 or so. Wrong. The final bid was $3300.

These are two names that I want you to add to your list of treasures to search for. No, Julie didn't buy at this sale but what about the next one she attends? Always remember, it doesn't matter how many pieces you miss, just the ones you buy. As long as you have money, I guarantee you that your number will come up, and that's when all the waiting will have been worthwhile.

Just a little refresher course: Don't spend your time researching common items, because every person on the street knows the value of them. Spend your time studying the rare, where the real money is. Most dealers want to talk about Roseville, Weller, McCoy or Haeger, but not me. I want to know more about Newcomb, Grueby, Rookwood or George Ohr. If you are talking about these pieces, I can assure you that my attention will be focused on that conversation. What's in a name? Everything, when it comes to Antiques, Collectibles and Fine Art.

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