Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joseph W. Gies – Daryle Lambert's Antiques and Collectibles Blog – What's in a name.

Joesph W. Gies - Thanks to

Looking at a painting before you purchase it or bid at auction can be troubling if the signature isn't readable. Many times I have had to make an instant decision on a painting when I wasn't sure who painted it. How do you decide to go ahead with a purchase under these circumstances?

Here is the procedure that I follow. First, is the quality there? Second, what price range have I seen other paintings like this one sell for in the past, and third, is it just too cheap to pass by when I have decided that the quality is there. These steps have produced some amazing finds for me when I eventually got the painting home and through research discovered who the artist was.

Just this week, I was emailed by a wonderful lady who was disposing of a rather large Asian collection and as an afterthought she told me she also had a few paintings. This caught my attention and I asked if she would send pictures. She told me that the one she liked the best had a signature but it couldn't be made out. Once I received the pictures in an email, I began to study them. The first one was on velvet and had little value. The second piece was a pencil drawing and the value probably would approach $200, but it was the third one that interested me and of course it was the one with the difficult signature.

I tried every spelling that resembled what I saw on the painting only to be disappointed. As a last resort, I thought that the first letters of his last name were “Gi” so I started there and began the tedious search through Davenport's Art and Reference Price Guide. Lo and behold, there it was: Joseph W. Gies. All of a sudden this painting of perhaps a $200 value, now might very well be worth $2000. Mr. Gies was a Michigan painter who was born in 1860 and died in 1935. His top price at auction according to AskArt was $7500.

After discovering who painted the piece, it was time to share the great news with the owner. The phone rang and Patti picked it up. I said, “This is Daryle again and I have news for you.” “What is it?”, she asked. When she heard what it could possibly be worth, I could hear the excitement in her voice. I will be trying to get her an honest offer for the painting soon.

This is why we have our rule to never sell anything unless we know who created it and what the value should be. What a mistake it would have been for her to have sold this painting for $100. So don’t be in any hurry when dealing with items that may become true treasures if you just spend a little more time researching them.

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1 comment:

  1. What a great example of treating the potential customer honestly! I'm sure she'll appreciate the gesture and help reinforce your reputation with other people. Yulia