Friday, 28 November 2014

99 percent of antique-dealers are rotters


I have been looking after these dogs for about 25 of their 377 years of existence, and between yesterday and today, I have spent a solid 6 hours beginning an attempt to secure their future for when I am no longer able to.

There are three of them, and this is the only one which has not needed my physical care and attention in it's long life, mainly because it is a lot beefier than its brothers, and also a lot higher up, out of reach of malicious hands.

They currently belong to a local government, who purchased the wall they sit on in order to demolish it in a road-widening scheme, but they have since built a by-pass and these dogs are - almost literally - mill-stones around their necks.

I have begun the long and tortuous process of getting them listed so that they cannot  - as I have stopped twice in the past - be taken down and sold to antique-dealers of the most unscrupulous kind.

The two I know of would sell their mothers for a profit, and one of them actually said to me, "What good are they up there? Far better that they are taken down and appreciated for what they really are."  Yeah, right.

Another one came into my workshop about 20 years ago and when he spotted the dog, his eyes flashed for an instant - like Gollum's - before he professionally composed himself and asked what it was doing there with an air of disinterest.

"Is it for sale?" There was a distinct but forced tone of 'I will take it off your hands' in his voice. I said that it was, indeed, for sale, but I was not going to part with it for less than £xxx. I deliberately undervalued it by a factor of about 2000, and his response was very revealing.

"Does that include the restoration?"

I sweetly smiled at him and he realised he had been had.

"YOU FUCKING BASTARD!" He returned to his old self as if he had just picked up The Ring, and stormed out. He has never forgiven me.

The other dealer was once tangentially involved with an article I made for a super-famous musical and theatrical impresario, when I was called to his converted priory to discuss a fountain bowl he needed as a water-feature in the garden.

We went into the garden, then Sir X pointed to an extremely large, male, stone figure in one corner which he had just bought from the dealer for around £50,000, saying that the bowl needed to compliment some details on the '17th century statue'. The statue was made of Vicenza stone, and easily recognisable as being no older than about 30 years, and worth no more than about £5000 tops.

The bastard dealer had put me in a very difficult position indeed, and the gardener gave me a sideways look which I furtively returned. Should I tell Sir X and embarrass him, or should I just keep my mouth shut and hope for the worst?

Of course, it would only be a matter of time before Sir X learned the truth of the matter, and it would be an even shorter period of time before he understood that I had been in some way complicit in the deal, whether I had been or not.

I have not heard from Sir X since, so I think that time has passed.

27 comments:

  1. I know the one percent of the dealers who is not, and he is a very nice man.

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  2. I always thought most antique dealers wore tweed and looked like extras from Downton abbey
    The ones state our local antique auction house look like a herd of gypos

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    1. Your words, not mine. Having said that, I don't live in an isolated village where the nearest police station is about 15 miles away, so have that on me.

      The ones around here look like a cross between the two.

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  3. I know it's dangerous to ask you a stupid question, but is the dogs' worth reliant on them being on the wall?

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    1. Their worth is outweighed by their value.

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  4. I am rooting for you and the dogs!

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  5. maybe you could get a petition on line to secure the dogs?

    And dont forget estate agents. I lost my rag with ours today an I swore. Not once but twice. I now hate him for making me as low as he is. Bottom dwellers.

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    1. The organisation will be even better at that, and I am also unwilling to give them publicity, on the grounds that things survive if ignored.

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  6. The dog is exquisite. I'd die for one. We don't have things like that in the US unless they are imported and beyond the reach of 99% of us.

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    1. The same percentage of rotten dealers we have here then.

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  7. In Berlin's Treptower Park they just nicked a group of sculptures (neither as old nor as beautiful as the dog in the photo above) - not to sell it to an art-lover, but to the melting furnace - metal thieves are very busy here.

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    1. Here too, but you now need to have your photo taken and be payed in cash before you can sell scrap metal - too late.

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  8. Sir X could easily afford it. You win some, you lose some.

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    1. He can, but I cannot afford to lose the patronage, You of all people should have understood that.

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    2. I did. I am not for handing out sympathy to you much these days.

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    3. I wasn't asking for it. One minute you are defending self-made billionaires for getting off their arses and making loads of money, and the next you are saying that they deserve to be shown up as idiots who can afford to be ripped off. Make your mind up.

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  9. I wonder if antique-dealers are the same as dealers in antiques. I know two of the latter and admire them very much. Although, I believe they called themselves antique dealers. No matter. Once they sorted out a pot from a lot consigned them by heirs and assigns. They researched the pot, determined it was an early, unsigned Rookwood, and returned it. Of course, hundred plus year old pots really aren't the same as 400 year old sculptures.

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    1. You are trying to differentiate between academics and people who sell their mothers, Joanne.

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  10. Could have sworn this post title was different earlier.

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    1. It was, but then I decided to go back about 50 years to a more forgiving age.

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  11. Oh dear. This reminded me of my friend who bought an expensive 17th C oak framed mirror with a bible hiding recess behind, When I explained that fibreglass didn't exist in the 17th C she was not happy..... even so, it was a very convincing fake.

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    1. You could build a battleship using pieces of the True Cross. It's been going on for centuries.

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    2. I own 'The True Nail', I'll post a picture one day.

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  12. I think one only has to look at the houses they live in and the cars they drive to know the truth in your argument Tom.

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    1. Many of them drive wrecks these days, I am happy to say.

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