Category Archives: Blog

Consider This: Collecting Chinese Textiles

Subject and Symbolism

The symbols depicted on a textile can tell you quite specifically what the function was and who would have owned it. Chimes, twin fish, and double happiness characters are symbols for blessings in marriage, designating a marriage robe. At the same time, Imperial dragons were strictly only used on Imperial textiles until the later parts of the Qing dynasty. 

Manchu Wedding Robe, China, 19th century. Sold for $9,225 in September 2019.

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The Allure of Chinese Blue and White Porcelain

Chinese blue and white porcelain has an appealing charm that has long been recognized among art collectors and ceramics aficionados. Many elements contribute to this, but the most prominent would be the cobalt blue color. In China, the use of blue pigment on ceramics began as early as the late Tang dynasty. Still, it was not until the late Yuan dynasty that blue and white porcelain gained popularity, and production started in sizable quantities.… Read More

Identifying Counterfeit Whiskies with Joe Hyman

Rare Spirits Specialist, Joe Hyman, delves into the fascinating subject of counterfeit spirits bottles and shows us what to look out for. Three whiskies in recent months raised red flags and Joe points out the reasons why. Watch now to uncover telltale counterfeit signs on labels, capsules and yes, even when tasting.

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Video Blog: An Explanation of our Glossary of Terms

Understand the terms used throughout catalog descriptions for Fine Art at Skinner. Robin S.R. Starr, Vice President and Director of American & European Works of Art, explains and illustrates how, where, and why these terms are used at Skinner in the accompanying video.

Glossary of Terminology:

Attributed toThe work may be by the artist’s hand, but leaves some question or doubt as to actual authorship.

School ofA work of an unknown follower executed in the style of the artist and contemporary in period.… Read More

Preview with the Specialists

Join us for a virtual preview and gallery walk of our upcoming September Fine Paintings & Sculpture and Fine Prints & Photographs auctions. Take a digital stroll through the gallery to view the array of artwork included in this week’s auctions, and watch video clips of department specialists Robin Starr, Liz Haff, Kate Leland, and Brianna Lovensheimer as they provide a wealth of information on several of the auction highlights.… Read More

Virtual First Tuesday | October 6

Join us for First Tuesday online!

AUCTION EVALUATION DAY | TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6

See what hidden treasures our experts may be able to reveal

We invite you to join us online for our Virtual First Tuesday on October 6. Skinner specialists from all departments will be on hand to evaluate items via email.

Let’s get started: 

Step 1: Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more.Read More

The Rarity Factor in Numismatics

1873-CC Arrows at Date with Motto Seated Liberty Half Dollar, MS64+, WB-4, R.4

There are many factors to consider when valuing an object, and rarely does a piece have all the elements to make it a true rarity. For numismatics, these can include low mintage, collectability of the series, surface, eye appeal, grade, grade relative to the known population, and whether the coin is fresh to market. These concepts have been addressed in previous blogs, but we’ll briefly overview some of these terms and why they’re desirable in a coin.… Read More

The Catalogue Raisonné: A Brief History

What Is It?

Simply put, a catalogue raisonné is a compendium of all known works created by an artist. They are the go-to source for a comprehensive understanding of an artist’s oeuvre. The primary focus is to establish a published record of each work: title, approximate year of creation, medium, signature and inscriptions, labels, provenance (or history of ownership), and other information. Perhaps most importantly, a catalogue raisonné assigns a permanent reference number to each known work.… Read More

Virtual First Tuesday | September 1

Join us for First Tuesday online!

AUCTION EVALUATION DAY | TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

See what hidden treasures our experts may be able to reveal

We invite you to join us online for our Virtual First Tuesday on September 1. Skinner specialists from all departments will be on hand to evaluate items via email.

Let’s get started: 

Step 1: Gather information and images for up to three items of fine & decorative arts, furniture, jewelry, silver, watches & coins and much more.Read More

The Undeniable Appeal of Folk Art

Folk art can appeal in different and often unexpected ways, and I think that surprise element is what draws me to it most. That we don’t often know a lot about its imaginative makers adds to the intrigue.

Folk Art Fish Weathervane, America, mid-20th century (Lot 2514, Estimate: $300-500)

A 20th century figure of a fish made from a bowling pin is a great example of the unexpected nature of folk art. The pin, which has clearly been used, shows the wear from the heavy contact it received from bowling balls over its years in its first life, has been altered to look like a fish, in much the way that a 19th century folk artist saw a tree root and fashioned a snake.… Read More

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