Recession? In Antiques & Fine Art?

This Meissen Clock recently sold on eBay after 29 bids for $6,352.51


If you can find what the collector is looking for, then recession doesn’t figure into the equation. There doesn’t seem to be any lack of funds in the upper end Antique and Fine Art markets. I’ve stated this to you on many occasions. But, as news of the volatile stock markets continue, it’s important to me that I find evidence of this so we don’t get run over by the economic dark cloud that pervades this period of time and become paralyzed with fear. Our industry is still very sound, and I remain very positive. Why?

Watching all the current auctions is part of what’s convinced me that all is well. Even yesterday, I received a call from a collector, Paul. He called me about one of the paintings we listed on ……Craigslist.org!!! (If you’ll remember, a few days ago I recommended you try this.) Now this was not some lower end item, but rather the William Horton we have with an asking price of over $20,000.

Paul assured me that money was no object, and that he was finding that now is the best time he’s seen in years to buy the treasures he’s been looking for. In fact, as we conversed, he told me that one of his favorite artists is Leon Dabo, and his personal collection of this artist’s work exceeds 100 paintings. This really got us talking because, only a couple of years ago, I sold two wonderful Dabo paintings.

So, I’m passing this on to you: We have a good customer for works by Leon Dabo. If you find one, or have one you want to sell, we have the buyer.

It didn’t take long before Paul and I were talking about our other interests, and he told me he’s always looking for Meissen pieces to add to his already extensive collection of Meissen. I asked Paul how he thought the prices for Meissen was holding up in what some perceive as hard times. His answer might surprise you. “My problem isn’t the price, but I just can’t find the pieces,” he told me.

Recession? In Antiques & Fine Art? What recession? You can now add Meissen to your list as your hunt continues.

If you’re not familiar with Meissen, I suggest that you go to eBay and look at all the completed auctions. This will give you a start in recognizing pieces made by the Royal Meissen Factory. There are many fake pieces, but the fakes are rather easy to identify. I hope that most of you have already purchased Kovel’s New Dictionary of Marks. This is a necessary tool, if you want to succeed in this business. A used copy is just fine.

So, turn off the TV News, and keep moving forward. Start gathering your list of estate sales and auctions for this coming weekend and for next week. Chart your course and don’t look back.

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Hummel’s Discontinued

Daryle Lambert’s 31 Club Blog

Hummels Discontinued.
This is of no surprise to me, and it shouldn’t be to you. I have been saying this was going to happen for over a year. Even if someone does take over the manufacturing of these cute little figures, it won’t be the same, and the prices will have to drop tremendously for them to sell. When I began to see examples of the Hummel figurines that previously listed in the price guide for $500 selling as low as $75, I knew there was a crisis coming for the collector.

I have written about the couple that had a collection valued at $250,000 by the guide, set aside for their retirement, that today would not even bring $35,000. You may have thought that your portfolio has dropped in value over the last six months, but you might be lucky compared to this couple.

Don’t despair, though.  There may be a silver lining here.  The true collectors are still there, but they will be looking for only the best and at better prices than in the past. This is where you come in, because as prices drop, people will sell the rare and the ordinary for nearly the same price giving you a great opportunity to cash in if you know the difference. In the future, only the Crown and Full Bee Hummels will really command prices that will put money into your pocket. For this reason, I would advise you to buy nothing below these marks unless by purchasing a whole collection it even brings the price you pay for the rare ones even lower.

My rule, until I finally quit buying the Hummels, was 25% of the book value, but today I would lower that to 10-15 %. You may think that this is too low, but I guarantee you that they can be purchased at this price today. This would be a great time to advertise for Hummel collections, because a few thousand dollars could go a long ways in purchasing a hundred or more of these today. This would assure you of a nifty profit when they are all sold.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008
PRODUCTION OF HUMMEL FIGURINES TO STOP SOON

PRODUCTION OF HUMMEL FIGURINES TO STOP SOON
Goebel Germany is stopping production of Hummel figurines on October 31, 2008. Demand has dropped to one third of expected sales. They will sell the figurines as long as they have supplies. We spoke to Carrie Kulak, the American media contact, and she said the 2008 International Club Convention in Germany October, 17th and 18th is cancelled. An announcement will be made in Germany at a special event on the 18th about the “solution” to the question “will there be more Hummels?” We are sure the rights to make the figurines will go to another manufacturer. Will prices for old Hummels go up or down? What do you think?

Posted by Ralph and Terry Kovel at 3:33 PM
Labels: Goebel Germany, Hummels

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Posted by Daryle Lambert at 5:06 AM

Antique Stemware Right Under Your Nose

 


Tiffany Favrile Ribbed Glass Stemware Service, circa 1901, recently sold on eBay for $4,500.

Most companies conducting a house sale or estate sale will put their better items in showcases, in the dining room hutch, or on a table in the living room close to the check out. This way, they think these items are more secure and less likely to be damaged. So, this is where I usually look first. I check for the more rare and expensive art glass items, figurines that might catch my eye, and good artwork. Often times, I’ve left empty handed. However, recently I found a way to make leaving empty handed a less likely occurrence.

You see, now I know I may have been passing up fine treasures in the area of stemware because of my lack of experience in these items. Little did I know that some stemware can command prices equal to the finest art glass. This really adds up when there is from twelve to fifty pieces of the same pattern being offered in stemware and accessories. When you figure the potential profit per piece from $20 to $100 each, for example, you can see that a nifty profit can be had. Until I realized that stemware could make the day for me, I would have passed on these treasures. I seldom attend a sale without seeing groups of fine stemware being offered and this has now opened up a new avenue for me.

One stemware winner that has appeared on eBay recently is a set of Tiffany stemware that sold for $4,500. The set included nineteen stemmed pieces, each one bringing in over $230 apiece. I have no doubt that the seller had less than 30% of that price in as his investment. If my math is right, his profit should have been almost $3,000.

Baccarat, Moser, Gorham, Waterford and Orrefors are just a few of the better names in stemware you might watch for, because they all can make you serious money when you buy them right. What I like about these items is that there is a ready market, even if you choose to use eBay to sell them. Regular auctions can be a great outlet to sell, and now you have the opportunity to use the 31 Marketplace with its extremely low fees to sell as well. The sale of stemware should almost be immediate, and your investment plus profit will be back in your account to use for your next purchases.

Look where other eyes pass over the obvious and be willing to continually learn more. By doing this, your bank account will be greatly enhanced.

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Time Spent Researching Artist’s Signature Can Pay Off

Diego Rivera

If you came across a quality painting with only the initials “CC” signed, would it be worth your while to find out if this might be something of value? On the one hand, the time researching might pay off handsomely, but on the other hand, the time spent researching might add nothing more than another layer of knowledge, possibly to be used next time around.

This is the way it is in the Fine Arts business. You’ll often find signed paintings, but can’t decipher the signature. It may take you a lot of time researching and there’s a chance you’ll come up empty handed. But, the rewards of finding something valuable are fantastic. I found a painting one time that I knew had to be painted by a talented artist, but I couldn’t read the signature. My only solution was to go through the entire set of signature books I had, so I decided to do this. About halfway through the first book, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I found a direct match. At this point, I still didn’t know the value of my piece, but once I saw this artist’s signature in the book, I knew he was a listed artist and I could track this down.

I grabbed my Davenport’s Art Price Guide and quickly look him up. I discovered that the $150 I paid for this painting had been well spent. The least expensive of this artist’s work brought $5,000 while his top sale was over $82,000. I soon sold this painting for just over $12,500. If I had paid myself $200 for the time I spent researching, my profit still would have been over $11,500. Not bad for a little work.

Remember, we are looking for things others miss, and often the point where they walk away is when there’s a signature that isn’t clear. How many people do you suppose looked at that painting and thought that it just wouldn’t be worth the effort to research it.

There are other things people walk away from in the art world. For example, many famous artists used only initials to sign their work. If you don’t have a book on these monograms, then they’ll mean nothing to you. I use the American and European set of books called “Signatures and Monograms” by John Castagno. If you can find these used on the Internet or through Abesbooks or Amazon, they could be like gold to you.

In these books, you’ll also learn that artists often painted under more than one name. A woman may have painted under her maiden name, as well as her married name. These books also contain sections on indecipherable signatures and the symbols some artists used on their paintings.

You will also find where artist often painted under more than one name. A lady for instance my have painted under her maiden name and also her married name. They also have a sections in these books on indecipherable signatures and symbols that some artist used on their paintings.

Back to my original question – if you found a painting marked “CC”, would you take the time to research it? If you did, you’d discover it was painted by the famous artist Jean Baptiste Camilla Corot, and it would be very valuable. If a painting is signed, “Picasso” most people would pay attention, but if it had the initial D with the number 32 after it and you researched it, you’d know it was by Diego Rivera and it was time to snatch that up. And what if you could buy one of these for just a few hundred dollars, because somebody didn’t know what it was. The record for one of Rivera’s works is over $1,500,000. Like I said in my book, let’s spend our time where the money is.

One of our members just emailed me about a painting she purchased for $1200. If it’s genuine, it’s worth over $28,000. I have my fingers crossed for her. And presently, I’m researching a painting that could very easily be worth $65,000 or more. I’ll share the results with you when I get them, and it wouldn’t hurt to have your fingers crossed for me, too.

There are other sources of looking up artists, such as AskArt.com, ArtNet.com and ArtPrice.com. These are subscription based services. If you’re a member of the 31 Club, rather than subscribing to these yourself, you can give us a call and we’ll check the name and prices for you. That’s just one more advantage of being a member.

Treasure Hunters:

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We Buy & Sell It.
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Folk Art: Antique Windmill Weights

Just the other day, after I posted a blog about the Whirligigs sought after by collectors, I guess my mind started going back to the days I spent growing up on a farm. Before I knew it, I was researching Windmill Weights. Maybe windmills were on my mind because of the need for this country to find new energy resources. Maybe the windmill images from the T. Boone Pickens commercials were forward in my mind. Only the Good Lord understands the intricacies of my mind. But, boy! I’m glad I did the research. I always thought windmill weights were in the form of animals, birds, moons, or stars, but I was mistaken, and I got quite the education on these folk art collectibles.

In case you’re not as old as I am, I’ll provide a little background info to understand the historical interest in windmill weights. Yesteryear, in parts of rural America and other parts of the world, many farms used windmills to capture the power of the wind to pump water out of wells for use on their land. Windmills also provided the energy to pump well water to fuel the early locomotives. Grain, especially in Europe, was ground by the energy provided by windmills. These windmills had many moving parts, of course, and a windmill weight was one of them.

Today, these weights are very collectible, valuable, and make great folk art. And there are lots of collectors who’d be grateful if you found a real beauty for their collection.

There are four different kinds of windmill weights – the Tail Weight, the Governor Weight, the Spoke Weight and the Regulator Weight. The Tail Weights are the most decorative of all.

There are hundreds of windmill weights to find, and they are still out there in the old barns and sheds. And some are quite valuable. Many of the weights you’ll find are painted, but I learned that this was usually done after the weight had out-lived its usefulness and later became a piece of folk art.

Many times paint is used to disguise a reproduction, however there are many ways to distinguish the real thing from a new reproduction.The best way is to look for rust. When these weights were used, they picked up sand in the rust, and this is what made the finish on the older weights. Watch for holes in the weights. They shouldn’t be straight up and down on the real ones, rather tapered. Any damage can quickly reduce their value.

I was fortune enough to run across the book, Windmill Weights, by Rich Nidey and Don Lawrence. I took a look at a site with some info on their book, and boy – what a head full I got.

I know you’re waiting for some price examples, so here they are:

A Black Bull with white writing, 18X24 inches, $920. Horse standing,white paint,16 X 17 inches, $920. Rooster, writing, Power & Pump Co. , 13 inches, $1495. ARooster by the Elgin Co., 15X19 inches, could bring you over $5000 today.

Today’s Photo comes from Ames Hill Antiques and this 15 inch star weight made by the U. S. Wind Engine & Pump Co. Batavia, Ill. c, 1890. is mounted on a tiger maple stand and has provenance to a Minnesota farm. It’s priced at $2250.

I think you’ll agree that these nifty items are worth looking for.

There is an endless stream of items people collect, and if we find them for collectors (or for ourselves) our coffers will be filled. An old saying I recall says, “Go where others have feared to go.” 31 Club says, “Look where others have failed to look.”

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Antique Snuff Boxes: Small and Valuable Treasures Worth Sniffing Around For

Swiss Enamel & Gold Snuff Box, circa 1740. Photograph property of M.S. Rau Antiques

I often tell Members of the 31 Club that money in the antique and collectible world can be made with items smaller than a bread box. Besides not taking up too much space in your home until you get them sold, you won’t be faced with transporting these small treasures back and forth, which eats away at your time and erodes your profit. Snuff Boxes and Snuff Bottles certainly qualify as items smaller than a bread box, and they can be quite valuable. Today, I’ll focus mainly on snuff boxes.

Snuff, used for many centuries, is a tobacco that is ground into a very fine powder. It’s sniffed through the nose, tucked behind the lip, or tucked inside the cheek. It came in either a dry form or a moist form.

In Europe, in centuries gone by, the use of snuff was a very popular social ritual, mainly with the elite. Many a high society lady or gent would never leave home without their stylish snuff box and would often have several to choose from. They even had snuff boxes for every season. In China, snuff bottles were very popular, and the bottle stopper had a little pad on the inside of it. The process for use was the same.

In 19th Century America, some women might have smoked cigars in public for its shock value, however, there were far more ladies discreetly using snuff, which was perfectly acceptable. This was Women’s Lib 19th Century style, and it caught on.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and we find that anything to do with snuff has become highly collectible. If you find one for a collector, they’ll pay you handsomely, especially for the right one.

Snuff boxes can be made from almost any material. They were often made of antler, silver, wood, brass, gold, pewter and many others. They also can be a combination of several materials, artistically decorated. Most boxes were decorated with gold or silver, often with the owner’s initials engraved on them. Many were highly decorated, and of course, these are quite valuable. Let’s look at a few values in Kovel’s Price Guide to see if your eyebrows move a little north:

A 3” Gold Enamled Box of a Harbor Scene, c. 1830 valued at $17,250. If that’s too rich for your blood, how about a Metal, Gilt, Musical, engine-turned panels sized at four inches for $14,950. These must have been owned by a very special lady or gent.

$32,500. That’s the price of the snuff box shown in Today’s Photo. Offered at M.S. Rau Antiques, and this Swiss Enamel and Gold Snuff Box, circa 1740, looks like it contains a double ivory portrait,adding to its value. This is a real beauty. When you take a look at all their high end snuff boxes, you’ll have a better idea of the high quality, high end boxes out there.

Remember, we look for the higher end, rare items. As we work our way up the 31 Steps, our ever increasing knowledge of true quality and rarity will help us along the way. Please make every effort to attend antique shows in your area to see high quality items up close and face to face. The first goal is to be able to recognize quality when you see it.

Snuff was not reserved for the high society crowd. We regular folks used it, too. I can still remember the way my Grandmother would quickly sniff a little, sneeze, and then hold her dainty handkerchief to her nose. As a child, I often wondered why she would do this. Maybe to clear her nose, I thought.

Today, snuff is a dying industry. To the ladies and gents of days long gone, aside from being the socially chic thing to do then, that special little high from nicotines was what they were probably after. In those days, the use of snuff also made the dentists very happy, too. It caused many a mouth problem and surely increased the bottom line in the dentists’ books.

If you’re interested in “sniffing out” more information on snuff boxes, you might start by reading Christopher Proudlove’s Blog on Snuff Boxes at WriteAntiques.com and Tobacco.org has a very informative timeline of tobacco that’s quite interesting.

Treasure Hunters:

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We Buy & Sell It.
You Net 35%.

Partner Up with 31 Club on High Quality Treasures You Find. We Do the Rest!!

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at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.
Keep More of Your Money.

Buyers:

Buy High Quality Items for FAIR PRICES
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It’s a What? A Whirligig?

If I told you a whirligig could bring in some big money, would you know what a whirligig is and how to spot one?

I always teach that the money in this business is made in the rare. The rare and desirable will keep your money turning, and a whirligig falls into this category.

So what is a whirligig? Think motion. Think action. Then, consider our past as a farming culture. When we were mainly farmers, birds in the fields, pecking away at crops was a real problem. Farmers needed something to scare off the birds without having to constantly have someone on the lookout who could to run out into the fields and wildly flap their arms to get rid them. Enter the whirligig. It’s a type of interesting and creative folk contraption made by a farmer on his time off from the fields, to solve the bird problem. Many will call it a toy, because it brought much delight to children, as well as to adults, but this contraption was designed with a purpose.

Most of these interesting contraptions are made of wood, but they can be made of almost any material. They have moving pieces, and when the wind blows on them, it creates an action. They might remind you of windmills — folksy windmills.

I have seen figural whirligigs whose arms spin and the head moves. These are rather simple, but there are others depicting a person sawing a log or a woman churning butter. With these, you are beginning to touch upon the higher dollar whirligigs. They weren’t actually meant to scare off the birds, but rather to enjoy. These are the ones whose dollar value has escalated so much. The number of these pieces that have survived till now is limited. To the avid collector of these artistic creations, the hunt for them is a labor of love.

Unlike items like duck decoys, whose value escalates when it is signed by a particular artist, whirligigs don’t have to be signed for them to be valuable; the value is in the design.

Here is an example of some whirligig values: Two men turning a fan, articulated limbs, 13X18 inches, valued at $690. 20th Century 12” man wearing black jacket and blue trousers,$1380. Policeman, one arm and band leader the other arm, 20 inches, wooden, $3300. And, a man wearing a pealed hat, blue jacket, and red vest, 21 inches, $6325.

While there are reproductions, a close look will tell you the differences. Look for signs of new paint, modern screws, no patina, poor workmanship and materials not of the time.

There are so many items that have the potential to bring big money, but first we have to know what to look for. If you come across one of these during your hunt, I hope this blog will come to mind. And, if you’re successful in buying it, you might just keep a whirligig for a while before selling it just to amuse yourself.

Today’s Photo comes from Marquisauctions.com.

*******

Treasure Hunters:

You Find It.
We Buy & Sell It.
You Net 35%.

Partner Up with 31 Club on High Quality Treasures You Find. We Do the Rest!!

Sellers:

Sell Your High Quality Items for LOW FEES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.
Keep More of Your Money.

Buyers:

Buy High Quality Items for FAIR PRICES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.

Our Members are Newbies to Seasoned Professionals
Making More Money than they Thought Possible.

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