Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Secret to Vienna Bronzes

You may be familiar with Vienna bronzes, but today I might surprise you with a real secret. When you talk to people about bronzes, they usually envision large 2' or more figurines that may sell for over $100,000. But, they often miss the smaller pieces that can be special in their own right.

I’ve been buying, what are called “cold painted bronzes” for many years, most of them being dogs. These little treasures are bronze figures that are painted to look life like, and most of these pieces will have a foundry mark.

Since I was a canine collector, these very life-like Vienna bronze sculptures appealed to me, and they were also easy to sell for better than average profits. These were small pieces that were less than 4 inches long, and I’d buy them for $2 to $10.

I attended a sale and found five of these on a table, and if my memory serves me right, I think it cost me under $30. Once I was out of hearing range, I let out a huge howl. You see, I may have just bought 5 of these pieces knowing each one would return me at least $500.

Here’s a few examples of the prices of these special treasures: Braye Bull 11 ¾ inches $3450, Bergman Arabs 8 inches $1540. Fredericks bronzes can sell for over $50,000. Mene 13 inch dog $$3500 and Wien animals from $500 up. The prices for these bronzes are usually very friendly when you find them at garage sales or estate sales.

Figurines marked by Bergman bring in thousands of dollars in today’s market, and are a real find. If you find one of these, and it’s real, you can be assured you have found treasure. But, all of this is not the real secret I had in mind for you today.

What do you do with a piece you find marked NAM GREB? You grab it and don’t let it go. Why?

The secret of NAM GREB:

Most of us who do something that is a little naughty want to hide it. Often times, this hold true in art as well. You see the Bergman Company was a well established company who made quality bronzes, but they also wanted to step out and make some erotic pieces for their customers. So, not to smear their image, they marked these erotic pieces with the name of Bergman spelled backwards: NAM GREB.

Often these erotic pieces were hinged, but when you looked at them they looked very conventional. However, when you opened them up, there was usually a nude woman standing there in front of you. One is a mummy opening to a nude lady. This little beauty is worth close to $5,000. I once found one of these priced at about $800. I purchased it and then sold it for close to $5,000. Now you know the secret, and may good fortune smile upon you.

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