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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


What is good condition?

Not understanding this is the biggest reason that money obsessed, new collectors get horrible returns on their investments.

And it is the biggest reason that passionate collectors make incredible profits on their acts of love.


Condition is very simple - just ask this simple question "Is that physical object in the condition it was in at the time it was first sold or published PLUS normal oxidation and aging.  It is that simple."

Any thing else that happens to this work detracts from the value unless it was owned by someone significant who signed his name or made notes in the book.

So sun fading, clipped margins, tears, bleaching, new color, flattening, mold, foxing, staining or rubbing always detracts from the value.   This holds true for virtually all forms of collecting.  Serious, obsessed collectors want to see what the artist meant his audience to see not what some restorer's sacrilege perpetrated 350 years later.

What greedy new collectors never understand that these changes reduce the value more than they could ever imagine.  They think a three inch tear into the printed surface of an Audubon aquatint reduced the value by 30% when it fact it takes away 60% of the value.  So the greedy buyer gets a terrible return when he wants to sell where as the passionate collector would never dream of buying something that was NOT what the artist intended.  He will pay up and buy the finest example possible without caring about making a profit.

In the end the passionate collector always makes the most money when he finally decides to sell.

Honestly, it makes me sick to see collectors come into the gallery who have been taken by dealers and auction houses expecting me to pay 70% of my retail prices for my masterpieces when there is no way that these 20th and 21st century cripples would ever find a place in my heart.

Here is an e mail I received today from the guy that manages my money (a genius) about some maps that a billionaire has in his home in Florida:

"Forgot to tell you: saw xxxxxx's Palm Beach House two weeks ago, a lot of Blaeu maps.  We thought they looked very restored, cleaned, faded, and that ours is better. Thanks to you"

This Palm Beach guy actually bought some of the maps from me but his decorator didn't use us for the framing and they have been horribly sun faded because the right ultra violet blocking Plexiglas was not used.  So he saved a little money by not using us for framing but lost close to $1,000,000 because he use me for the last step.  We are the finest framers in the world if you want to preserve you artwork from a invasive, hostile environment.   Yes, we cost more because our materials are more expensive.  But it is worth it because it preserves the original condition.

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