I’m afraid that I’m about to be controversial. As a dealer I noticed that a rather disingenuous comment has been allowed to float on by without challenge.
At the end of his posting Frank says: "Of course the dealers can take the homage and turn it into a fake by attribution again "
I feel comments like this do nothing to advance the subject glass and indeed are positively detrimental to the community that supports this branch of the decorative arts. Divisive statements that go unchallenged only go to support divisions and I find it particularly strange that it is an ex-dealer who has made this sweeping statement. Whilst I realise that it is not meant to be inclusive it is not qualified as a statement.
Not only does it roundly insult all the dealers out there who try their best to be honourable, but it also insults contributors to this board, not to mention one dealer’s website that is often quoted as a source of information.
You cannot tar everyone with the same brush, just because, in your experience you have come across a larger number of disagreeable ‘dealers’. If it is based on a role as a ‘policeman’ for the correct attribution of Ysart Glass on the web, then by definition you will increase the number of rotten apples in the barrel that you are looking within.
When I go to visit collections of Monart I am often shown pieces of Nazeing, WMF, Czech, modern ‘Ysart’ style and occasionally Webb & Corbett masquerading as original period glass by Monart. The collector insists that they indeed Monart. Am I to assume that all these collector’s are trying to con me? Of course not, they have all made the mistakes that many of us collectors have inevitably made in our collecting careers. However, it is often difficult to convince the collector that in fact they have made a mistake, since in all probability, they are mistrustful of one’s motives. Statements like the one made in this thread only go to increase this scepticism.
If we take the example of the collector who has made mistakes and re-apply it to dealers, then surely it is reasonable to assume that they are capable of mistakes too?
Yet, in this modern market, we are no longer limited to dealers who run shops, sell through antique centres or antique and collectable fairs. Usually, most of these dealers came from the ranks of collectors, so had a competence built in before they started dealing. We now have the ability for every Tom, Dick or Harriett to set up as a seller through the easy access of the Internet and eBay, without any experience and without the aid of even a sparse library.
Many of those sellers try their best to give correct attributions – witness all the requests on this board – but many are just naÃ¯ve and give attributions for which they have little proof of, or have jumped for the nearest thing that looks pretty much similar, and have used that as the attribution – however they are happy to learn when the error is pointed out to them. Then we have a section who are deliberately misleading buyers, sometimes by mentioning other things within the description, so giving the impression that something might be what it is not. On other occasions it is far more cynical.
Most terrestrial dealers that I know of try their level best to find out about what they are selling in order to give the item added ‘value’ and be able to discuss the piece when selling to the prospective buyer. Of course, there are those who run along in ignorance and get away with wrong attribution, usually on the grounds that it is easy to buy from them at a fair price.
Additionally, there are the rotten apples, but these are, in my long experience, surprisingly few. Moreover, these wrong’uns are generally recognised by both collectors and dealers alike. After all, news of wrong doing spreads very fast in any small community (see these boards). Monart collector’s and dealers of any longevity will be fully aware of the activities of a gentleman who dealt from a shop in a Scottish city who deliberately set out to deceive buyers of Monart and Vasart. His ‘fame’ spread both north and south of the border to collectors and dealers alike. It was very sad when one was confronted by a purchase made from this source by a proud collector who had been ‘seen coming’ because of their lack of experience - particularly in the latter years of his activities – but this sort of dealer is rare. It is not in any dealers interest to go around conning their customers – where’s the longevity in that?
Sorry for the tirade, but I felt that some balance to the statement was required
I think we all need to pull together in order to promote our favourite subject to the world at large
Kind regards to all, Nigel