Archive for the 'Tips' Category

06
Jan
14

Understanding the Misunderstandings Pt 3 – Sterling Silver Marks

Furniture and Decorative Arts Assistant Katie O’Connell:
“There is so much confusion in understanding what determines whether a piece is sterling silver or is, for instance, a silver plated item.  With very few exceptions, sterling silver is always marked.  If you cannot find a mark that says sterling, bears a number or see evidence of English hallmarks, then it is not a sterling silver piece.  The look of the piece has little to do with making this determination; it is all about the mark or lackthereof.”

Preisner Sterling Four Piece Tea and Coffee Service marking

Preisner Sterling Four Piece Tea and Coffee Service marking

Please visit Michaan’s Auctions appraisal event every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Main Gallery located at 2751 Todd Street, Alameda, CA 94501.  This free service is a wonderful opportunity to not only find out information on up to five pieces, but to potentially find out if you are sitting on a treasure!

By Laura A. Baker

30
Dec
13

Understanding the Misunderstandings Pt 2 – Refurbishment

20th Century Design Specialist Greg Favors:
“Unlike the case with many period furnishings, refurbishment of modern furniture is not necessarily a negative thing.  If done properly, it can even increase the value of a piece.  Often times, foam and upholstery deteriorates with use and time.  Bringing these elements back to their original condition often improves the overall condition, making the furniture more sellable in today’s market.  The authenticity of let’s say, the foam of a couch cushion, is not a sticking point for a modern furniture enthusiast.”

Vladimir Kagan Free Form Sofa - recovered in a teal microfiber upholstery

Vladimir Kagan Free Form Sofa – recovered in a teal microfiber upholstery

Please visit Michaan’s Auctions appraisal event every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Main Gallery located at 2751 Todd Street, Alameda, CA 94501.  This free service is a wonderful opportunity to not only find out information on up to five pieces, but to potentially find out if you are sitting on a treasure!

By Laura A. Baker

18
Dec
13

Understanding the Misunderstandings Pt 1 – Buddhist swastika

Even if you are not new to “the auction game,” antique collecting can throw you a curve ball now and again.  While browsing lots or even looking at your own property, you may have thought, “I wonder what this design element means?” or “Should I in fact bid on this lot?”  Michaan’s Auctions Specialists and staff make it their business to keep you informed on making smart moves at auction as well as with your property.  Our staff members have shared some prime examples of understanding the misunderstandings relevant to their departments.

Asian Art Business Manager Kim Jee:
“One of the most commonly misunderstood symbols in Asian works of art is the Buddhist swastika.  It bears a resemblance to the Nazi Hakenreuz, but upon closer inspection, the Buddhist representation is a clockwise mirror image of the symbol of the Nazi regime.  In fact, the Buddhist symbol was created first and is associated with well being and good fortune.  In Asian works of art, it can often be seen imprinted upon an image of Buddha, as a repeating symbol on decorative borders, on altar cloths, banners and as a decorative element on clothing.”

A Blanc-de-Chine Buddha - the swastika is front and center on his chest

A Blanc-de-Chine Buddha – the swastika is front and center on his chest

Please visit Michaan’s Auctions appraisal event every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Main Gallery located at 2751 Todd Street, Alameda, CA 94501.  This free service is a wonderful opportunity to not only find out information on up to five pieces, but to potentially find out if you are sitting on a treasure!

By Laura A. Baker

17
Sep
12

Tip for Auction: Calculated Bidding

Arnette Terry, Office Manager:

Take a look at the lot you would like to bid on and ask yourself what you honestly think is a fair price for it.  Bid based upon this mentality and it will help you determine what you will be comfortable with.  Also, keep the buyers premium and sales tax in mind; some people forget to factor this in to their bottom line.  We always want to make sure our clients are happy and satisfied with their purchase.

07
Sep
12

Tip for Auction: Adding authenticity by saving boxes and paperwork

Jeff Lee, Photographer:

If you have original boxes or paperwork to accompany your property it can add a nice touch to the overall look of a photograph.  It can enhance the set up as well as add a validity and sense of authenticity to the image.

Jeff Lee, Photographer

Jeff Lee, Photographer

04
Sep
12

Tip for Auction: Assistance for Chinese speaking clients

Mei Yee Ho, Asian Art Assistant:

For Chinese clients who are not fluent in English please do not let it discourage you from participating at auction.  There are Chinese speaking staff members, such as myself, who can help you with your questions and concerns throughout the auction process.

Mei Yee Ho, Asian Art Assistant

Mei Yee Ho, Asian Art Assistant

28
Aug
12

Tip for Auction: Handling coins and stamps

Michael Rosenberg, Coin and Stamp Specialist:

I completely agree with Harry (see previous Tip for Auction post) and apply this rule to coins and stamps.  Also, when you are dealing with proof coins, make sure to use gloves when handling them; never touch them with your bare hands or you risk leaving spots.  I also highly recommend using tweezers when handling mint, unhinged stamps.

Michael Rosenberg, Coin and Stamp Specialist

Michael Rosenberg, Coin and Stamp Specialist

22
Aug
12

Inauthentic Gallé Vase

The appraisal event held on August 22, 2012 brings with it a cautionary tale, but one to learn from nonetheless.  A woman from San Leandro brought a vase to be appraised on behalf of her client.  Her client bought the vase about fifteen years ago from an antique broker believing it was an authentic Gallé and paid $3,000 for it.  One other appraisal had been conducted on the vase since its purchase, deeming it a fake.

Questionable Gallé Vase

Questionable Gallé Vase

Vase signature

Vase signature

The client thought it would be wise to get a second opinion and decided to turn to Michaan’s Auctions.  Furniture and Decorations Specialist Elizabeth Dalton was immediately leery of the piece, noticing that the look and color was quite off.  Dalton noted the irregular texture, appearing as if it was “impressed with a cheese cloth,” as well as the dye running in multiple places.

Vase texture

Vase texture

Running dye on vase

Running dye on vase

Dalton then showed the woman comparisons of real Gallé glass works, providing information that would have been valuable to know prior to the purchase. Unfortunately, Dalton believed the true market value of the vase to be around $300-500.

16
Aug
12

Tip for Auction – Don’t clean your items

Harry Huang, Asian Art Specialist:

As a general rule, cleanliness is not next to Godliness in the auction business.  Leave your item in its original condition when you bring it to us; we can help you determine how to best present your piece. For example, some original patinas can become destroyed when you attempt to clean them.

Harry Huang, Asian Art Specialist

Harry Huang, Asian Art Specialist




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