Is it a $5,000 antique or a modern reproduction?
(Well, have you gotten it X-rayed?)
In a book about the secrets behind the antiques-dealer world, Maureen Stanton quotes a master carpenter who builds modern-day "antiques":
“Well, it’s buyer beware. I don’t have to reveal this. I don’t have to label it as such because that’s the buyer’s business to know that.”This is the carpenter's justification:
“Well, if I’m restoring it to such a level that nobody can tell, not even a top expert, it’s like that philosophical question about a tree falling in the forest. If no one can tell and people are enjoying these as if they were real, what’s the difference?”As Ms. Stanton says, buying a fake may not matter if you're spending just a little, but it does matter if you're buying an antique as an investment.
So how can you protect yourself? Two rules, and neither are perfect: You should know the reputation of the seller, and you should either be an expert (or hire one) to check out your potential purchase.
(And X-rays and paint analysis can tell a lot about a chair.)
- In the Hot Seat: Is Your Antique Windsor a Fake?, Collectors Weekly>>
- Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: An Insider's Look at the World of Flea Markets, Antiques, and Collecting, Maureen Stanton>>
- Via Boing Boing: The man who makes fake antique Windsor chairs>>