April 30, 1999
Tomorrow is the first of May! Get out the maypole and start dancing!
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HE'S MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE
He Who Is The Light Of My Life has just launched a new website. It's called Classic Copies and I think it's a place all collectors ought to bookmark. At Classic Copies, nothing old is for sale. Everything's a reproduction. What Artie is trying to accomplish with this is to put reproductions in their proper place. They are wonderful decorative accents, things that give you the look of fine antiques, but for a tiny fraction of the price you'd pay for the originals (or they should be. Unfortunately, some dealers try to pass them off as old, at highly inflated prices). And they're also all in perfect condition, which most antiques are not. But, even if you can't abide reproductions as part of your decorative scheme, and would rather live without than give in and buy something that's not a bona fide antique, I think you'll find the site useful. Visit and you'll know what to watch out for at flea markets and shows. It'll be awfully hard for some unethical dealer to remove the country of origin labels and fool you into paying big bucks for a new item. So, go take a look. HWITLOML has worked hard on the site, and I think it's very attractive. So far, he has advertising signs and posters, pottery and porcelains, and toys for sale. More will be added all the time. Here's the link:Classic Copies
Oui', Vous Est Un Very Bad Boy Department
Paris police have announced that they have officially placed top auctioneer Jacques Tajan under investigation for "irregularities" in the June, 1994 auction sale of sculpture belonging to the widow of legendary sculptor Alberto Giacometti (no one can, apparently, accuse the Paris police of moving too swiftly). It seems that one Roland Dumas, executor of the Giacometti estate, arranged and attended the sale, which was being held to raise money for estate taxes. Mr. Dumas, who also was executer of Pablo Picasso's estate, has what can only be called a checkered past. He recently resigned as head of the Constitutional Council, France's highest legal body, amidst une scandale du kickbacks. So, he is also being questioned in connection with his role in the affair.
So, what happened at the Giacometti auction, which took place on July 11?
Well, one sculpture, entitled "Nu d'apres nature (Natural Nude - is there
any other kind, I ask you?), had been estimated by experts to be worth
$450,000 to $460,000. It was sold to one Joe Nahmad, an art dealer, for
$183,000, less than half the pre-sale estimate. But, other auction
attendees have stated that the bidding reached $300,000. Which was a big
surprise to Mr. Nahmad, because he pulled out of the bidding at $183,000
and had no idea he'd even bought the statue until a bill for it showed up
at his Geneva office. Mr. Tajan says this is all just a matter of
confusion, caused by the fact that Mr. Nahmad's brother, David, was also
bidding on the statue, but by telephone. Which would have cleared
everything up, except that David Nahmad told investigators he didn't
participate in the July 11 sale at all. Sacre bleu. What a mess. Mr. Tajan
and Mr. Dumas deny all. Of course.
SOME TERRIFIC SITES
As one who spends a great deal of time visiting various sites around the Internet, I feel I can recommend a few here and there, because they're fun, or enlightening, or both. Here's a couple you shouldn't miss: Costume Jewelry Collecting At About.com. - Ably run by Guide Isabelle Bryman, an energetic and intelligent lady of the Swedish persuasion, the site is loaded with information for the collector of vintage and modern costume jewelry. There are resources of every kind, from repair companies to suppliers, tips for care and cleaning, interviews with designers, and links to news hot off the wire. A must if you're into fashion too! Costume Jewelry Collecting At About.com.
The Attic Muse: Collectors News - Intelligently written and managed by Lee
Bernstein, this site contains a series of pertinent articles and good solid
references for the collector. There's even a bibliography for those who
have a life away from the computer.
The Attic Muse: Collectors News
Fire King Jadeite - You knew it had to happen. Martha Stewart's influenced the market, and prices have risen to the point where it is profitable to make fakes. Reproduction cups and saucers have hit the street. The new Jadeite is kind of blue-ish. Pieces are marked underneath with a diamond and three numbers in reverse.
Tobacco Cards - sets of reprodution cards, in sepiatone on cardboard, are
out there. They are made on a laser printer, and the distinctive horizontal
lines are visible with a loupe. Another giveaway: these items have been
copied from the originals and any imperfections in the originals have been
copied along with everything else. So, if you look closely, you can see
printed surface scratches and tears. If you touch these, it is obvious
that the flaws don't actually exist - they're only printed on the card.
Time for me to go, Accumulators. We're on our way up to the country house
to do some garage saling, and to attend the Robersons' auction in Pine
Bush, New York on Saturday night. Always great stuff there! Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 1999 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #81
U.S. Library of Congress
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