Do you Remember a time before” E Bay” ,” Live Auctions ” and all the others Inter Net Auctions ? Yes there was a time when The traditional Auction houses were the only place to find Art and Antiques ( in most case the legitimate ART and ANTIQUES ” , Not what we see now selling every thing from Pet Rocks , Bennie Babies , Match Box Cars , to mention a few and occasionally LEGITIMATE work of Art or Antiques !
First as a Collector and later a Private Art & Antique Dealer , I still find real treasures in the less fancy spots ( ” O yes ” , Thrift Shops , Inter net auctions like the E Bay Sites ) there are still the best places to find treasures at a reasonable price ..if you do your own research and than decide if the item is what it is presented as …. On such sites many sellers are cleaning out grand ma’s house , down sizing a home of 40 years plus , selling off the finds from yard sales or so many others reasons.
Now with Shows like BRITISH ROAD SHOW , ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW , THE FIND and many others …The average seller ( armature most often ) Thinks he or she is selling the ” Brooklyn Bridge “and asking far more than the real value is ! These fools are often kidding them selves and a few Fools willing to fall for the scam .
However you will find treasures there as well in the Thrift Shops , Flee Markets , Yard Sales and other secondary markets …You need to arm your self with knowledge , a cool head and patience .
I call this “DUMPSTER DIVING ” , YES I think of this as a sport … The men in my family hunted in the fields of the North East and Mid west hunting poor defenseless animals and I hunt for treasures .
My Profile and treasures and what We sell can be seen at my professional link at ;
I have even found these “Sleepers ” in Antique Malls ” , My own collection is full of stories of where these were found . Unless you have more money than Cents , many collectors stay away from THE large Traditional Auction Houses … Where it takes months to prepare for a sale. Everything has to be cataloged, tagged, have a condition report written, and estimates made up. The provenance has to be checked and the items have to be researched. All of this has to be done by experts. And the best people cost money. The items also have to photographed, then the photographs have to be downloaded and edited. And god forbid you’re working with big items like furniture. Getting big items into a place you can photograph them with a white background is a pain in rear let me tell you! I’m sure with expensive furniture they pay people just to move the furniture around. After all that someone has to make the catalogs which in my experience can take about a week (though I wasn’t at one of the big auction houses so maybe they’re more efficient– or they could take longer since they have prettier catalogs). Then you have to pay the auctioneer who makes a boatload because good auctioneers cost money , Then you have to pay the people on the sales floor, pay for advertising, pay the accountants, and the lawyers in case anything goes wrong. And then you also have to pay rent for the shop, Gallery and Business .
The many Established Sellers are working on a smaller scale and often as Home Base Business . Often the Gallery ids the house walls and cabinets are full , The PC is the office where the Living room , extra bedroom or family room used to be . The PACK and SHIP is some times the Counter in the Kitchen or garage . Yes with less overhead and often you meet and build a lasting more personal relationship with the buyer and seller … Forget the “Brook Brothers Look Suits and Ties ” YES , My Profile is such BUT I do not dress like that every day !
Today and more than ever , collecting Fine art and Antiques opportunities are still about , using the ” Old tried and True ” approach of Education , Experience by visiting Public Collections , talking to dealers and finally following your passion for this .
This is my passion for the past 40 years and My passion has been with me through “Thick and Thin ” , “Good times and Bad ” and YES manage to give me a good return on my money when I decided to sell ….
All I must admit was a Fluke , a Out standing Print-Painting Collector , Collector Richard A. Fluke , I had the privilege of meeting at 15 , with the first purchase of Art , a Goya etching . His spirit is still watching over me as my Guardian Angle , mentor and best influence for a collector .
James Stow & Anthony Yau
Candlewood-Yankee Fine Arts