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Happy Hunting Antiques Today

The New & Exciting World of Collecting Antiques & Art in the 21st Century

The New & Exciting World of Collecting Antiques & Art in the 21st Century


I am definitely an artifact of another time left to make my own way in this twenty-first Millennium.

I have learned much and been surprised less.

Something unexpected has occurred as of late though and something I didn’t anticipate. It’s quite exciting.

There is a rapidly growing, knowledgeable, and, focused group of young collectors out there.

I saw these young buyers first in the contemporary art market where serious acquisitions were made with highly knowledgeable independent specialists. The specialists were there to protect them from the usual pitfalls of copies, and, improved, and altered originals.

In this current market good original artwork has been a great choice.

Mostly it has gone up in value and you get to enjoy it for a lifetime. 

These several months of working from home have given me a chance to think about what this group of collectors is looking for and how they choose to live.

I suspect the age of the mail order/online catalog filled with mediocre furniture has its own shelf life, and it’s now expired.

This more young and knowledgeable group is not looking for furniture that has to be replaced in a couple of years. They are interested in vintage and earlier pieces made with quality that was used to be common but now is the exception in newer pieces/stores.

I notice young collectors interested in acquiring artifacts, antiquities, and, interesting & beautiful art & furniture, both antique and vintage, also collectible books.

The monochromatic grey interior seems to be receding.

What is a wonderful surprise is this group loves old and ancient surfaces.

Many moons ago when I started working in this field the fashion was decidedly French & formal. These pieces were made to look as new as possible. Often now I am told not to polish an old surface.

This particular practice finds its roots in American collecting traditions and some English preferences for less formal pieces. Wonderful old patinas tell stories and I believe add texture and richness.

The most important lesson for me is that these collectors are pleasing themselves. It is worth noting that they often know exactly what they want and have managed to educate themselves fairly well.

Happy hunting and here is to the road less traveled and pleasant surprises.


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Hunting for Great Art

Hunting for Great Art

Few things will add more to your life than a great partner, a great pet, and, a great piece of art.

Early in my career I bought attractive and relatively inexpensive art. Price is not a good measure of quality however it is reasonable to say that it is unlikely that you will find an amazing piece for a low price.

I have found that Art Collectors usually are aware of any remarkable artwork they have in their collection. One of my earliest purchases was Picasso’s “Dove of Peace” complete with a certificate of authenticity for about $150.00. I was so pleased I couldn’t see straight!

Kind and polite dealers pointed me in the right direction. Still it was hard to sort out what I had bought. It was not in the Bloch book that held records and images of Picasso lithographs. The signature looked good and the image kept turning up with vague descriptions. I sold it to a friend for a modest amount and moved on believing I had bought a fairly common fake.

A few years later I learned the work was first a drawing by Picasso chosen as the emblem for the First International Peace Conference in Paris in 1949.The lithograph was made by someone else, and the signature probably a fake. The last one I saw for sale was $5000!

Not a bad price for Picasso but a very ambitious price for a copy.

A good friend was trying to sell his collections to support him through an illness. The artwork was and is still important.

It seems as though quite a few originals are being printed, now signed with an estate stamp as the artist passed away decades ago. The auction houses have several years of pieces worth to offer and the private market is either informed or wary. What was it is worth? He certainly paid handsomely for it but was unable to sell it at any high price during his lifetime.

We live in interesting times.

Clients of ours recently sold an Andy Warhol portrait and made out fairly well. The painting was acquired directly from the artist with documentation! This is essential!

Provenance is extremely important.

Not long ago I had a good work by a local artist that is now deceased.

His gallery sells his work for serious money and was willing to take one on consignment. Auction records were almost non-existent. I finally sold the painting to a friend for a fair price. He could take his time selling it and was glad to have it. I was pleased to.

Figure out what you like and what you can afford. Take your time and avoid the Wild West of the Internet at least at the beginning.

Find a dealer you like and learn as much as you can about the artist and their work.

A great piece lasts a lifetime.

My advice is:

1. Important artist generally have catalogue raisonné where all their known work is published.

2. Artists tend to work in predictable formats and sizes. Is the image the correct size? Is the paper the artists GoTo? Is the work the right age and most important can you put down a security deposit and take the work to hang in the office or your home for a few days? If the answer to this one is no then something may be up. You probably dodged a bullet.

3. Paintings should be examined under black light. The original work will be one color while the improvements will reflect another color. This will usually expose restoration or an added signature.

4. While most dealers will be happy to share all information they know about a piece, avoid running a dealer through their paces if you are simply curious.

Happy Hunting! Howard @

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