It was 10 degrees in Manhattan when I entered the Upper West Side apartment building where Jay Jay French, legendary Twisted Sister guitarist, lives. When I rang at his door, he opened it with a wide grin and invited me into what could only be the home of a well-played musician. Walls decorated with gold records, rare original vintage Beatles and Rolling Stones photos, memorabilia of Old New York celebrities and entertainers, a state-of-the art sound system, and stacks of guitars, including thirteen bright pink axes that belong to the Pinkburst Project.… Read More
Category Archives: Blog
The Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning is an annual conference (this year’s was the 45th) at which attorneys, trust bankers, and other estate planning and estate settlement professionals gather to learn what’s new in their field of expertise.
I realized the minute I first saw the weaving, with the variegated wool, the browns, all this great character, that this had to be a really early third phase Chief’s blanket. The consignors didn’t have a clue what they had. I told them, “Don’t worry, you’ll be happy.” When they saw the price realized online, they told me they had to look it up five or six times. They didn’t believe it.
I bought this chair because it was apple green and I loved the color. I wasn’t thinking about whether it would be comfortable and functional. Sometimes it seems like the nicest looking chairs are the worst to sit in, and the comfiest ones look terrible. However, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Quality. This one word can make the difference between a value in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars when it comes to art and antiques. Advice like “buy high-quality” or “quality never loses value” floats around the antiques business, but what does quality really mean?
“Fifty thousand,” came a bid from the phones. A moment later, a man in the audience shouted, “Five hundred thousand,” upping the ante tenfold. I could feel the tension in the room from my place on the auction block.
I walked into the room, and before me on the table was a softly lit impressionist landscape depicting an olive grove with distant red-roofed houses. A French scene; southern France. The signature seemed to read “F.C. Frieseke”, and stylistically the painting was in the right ball park. Frederick Carl Frieseke was an American Impressionist who worked in France.
For the past 22 years, I have sold more Wedgwood at auction than every other auctioneer combined. I belong to and have lectured on Wedgwood at many of the Wedgwood Societies throughout the US and the UK, as well as numerous other ceramic study groups. So I have a pretty good overview on what’s hot and what not in Wedgwood collecting.
If you love acoustic guitars, and want to know where the best values are–if your motivation is to have and play something that you love–then you may want to consider vintage and antique instruments that are often overlooked in the marketplace.
The vast majority of items that cross the auction block don’t have storied pasts. They were not owned by world-famous personalities; they belonged to individuals just like me and you.
In the antiques world, provenance indicates an attachment to a famous person or to a famous collection. Almost without exception, auction buyers will pay more for something with good provenance if there is documentation to prove it.
Documentation is not just family lore: a fragment of paper in great aunt Mildred’s hand noting the story she heard when she received the item as a gift doesn’t count.… Read More