Antique auction bidders seek “estate fresh merchandise” for good reason. When an estate comes to auction with family lineage going back generations there are bound to be some treasures. A long time dealer once told me. “If you have the horses, they will come.” When you sell valuable and rare items bidders will flock to an auction. Sometimes consignors have only a few heirlooms that were passed down to them or they made a great yard sale or flea market find they’d like to sell. No matter how you acquired the pieces you don’t want to make any changes that will detract from the value of your items.
With antique paintings, posters and other art it is usually best to leave things alone. Antique paintings may need to be cleaned, relined or have tears or holes repaired. Many collectors and dealers work with art restorers on a regular basis with whom they are comfortable. It doesn’t make sense for a consignor or the auction house to restore artwork when it may not be performed in the manner that the potential buyer prefers.
Whether you inherit a painting, print or poster you can frame it any way you’d like if you plan to keep it. If you are considering selling it, you may not recoup your investment by framing the work. If you have a painting from the late 1800’s, buyers will want the original frame from that time period. With vintage posters shrink wrapping them is a better option than framing them. Shrink wrapping displays the poster well and is relatively inexpensive. You may pay to have a poster framed in a black frame when the buyer prefers brown.
Antique television show appraisers often inform people that their antique furniture would have been worth much more if it hadn’t been refinished. This is especially true for older, desirable pieces like Period antiques (from 1600’s to early 1800’s). Conversely, there are other shows where antiques are “repurposed” and sold to buyers for a profit. The difference is that the furniture and other objects being repurposed aren’t typically very valuable to begin with. An older table can be stripped down, repainted a bright color, have additional parts added and be worth more to a decorator or someone who wants it for their home. Magazines like “Country Living” and websites like Pinterest can influence trends. As “Country Living” articles showed homes decorated with white painted furniture some antique dealers used spray guns to paint all of the furniture they could find as they couldn’t keep it in stock.
In short, do what you want with lesser value antiques that you want to keep but think carefully before making any changes to valuable antiques that you may want to sell. Check with an expert if you are unsure whether or not it is an important piece before you plug in the sander or open the paint can.
We have a few events in the works including a live preview on Saturday, September 26th of a small online auction we are running in Lexington. I’ll be a guest on Worcester’s WCCA TV’s “Hidden Treasures” show on September 24th. The show will also be on the wccatv.com website soon after it airs. I will be presenting the last of my fall antique seminars at Goddard Homestead in Worcester at 11:00 on October 12th.
Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services www.centralmassauctions.com (508-612- 6111), firstname.lastname@example.org