We’ve had a brief mention in a print article in a local publication that came out today. It’s interesting, because, although we were extensively quoted, our consideration of the antiques trade is overshadowed by the blather of another dealer who is a known blowhard. Sadly, he’s one of those folks who is less eager to sell his material than he is to tell you how much his inventory cost him to purchase. Between ourselves, we believe he’s actually demented, but this isn’t the point of the blog.
As so often happens, the article coincided with a gallery visit from a gentleman who we’ve seen from time to time over the last year or so. A property developer, he’s done okay and currently, while possibly not thriving, seems to be holding his own. He’s made the occasional small purchase from us, with his interiors designed by one of the up and coming designers. He’s chatted to us before about the fine and decorative arts we offer, and we have the strongest sense that he would love to move toward a measure of connoisseurship. His business background doesn’t leave him, of course and, though he wants to buy something that is aesthetically pleasing into which he can also achieve a measure of intellectual satisfaction, whatever he buys has to represent value for money. This, of course, is when we start to discuss art and antiques as fungible commodities. As a property developer familiar with appraisals, the notion of market value comparisons has a particular resonance within this discussion. It dawned on me as we were having this discussion that the components of market value, intelligently arrived at, have been a consistent entre in our beginning discussions with private clients who aimed to become serious collectors.
For someone not in business, the business of business may seem dry as popcorn, but no one who is successful in any endeavor does not pursue it with a degree of passion that feeds something in them other than a desire for monetary gain. Frankly, we’ve never seen anyone who has been successful in anything that did it just for the money. Consequently, Keith and I, with backgrounds in finance, are fortunate in that we’re able to speak the language of a number of people who, despite being well-heeled, would otherwise be at sea in the world of connoisseurship.
Back to our demented colleague, he was quoted as saying something along the line of how some dealers’ material may be expensive, but successful people who’ve worked hard owe themselves fine art and antiques. I wonder if he ever tells any prospective buyer that. Perhaps he does, and I suspect what he ends up with are the types of transaction-oriented parvenu who would, on another day, purchase a flashy car. Interestingly, our property developer client drove up the other day in- wait for it- a Chevy Impala, albeit a new one.