When it comes to antiques, put the scissors down.

And keep the polish and glue on the shelf.

An antique dealer friend recently told me a sad tale.

Her friend, another dealer, purchased two framed original hummingbird prints by John Gould. This 19th Century English ornithologist was a contemporary of John James Audubon, and his portrayals of birds are considered to be as good, if not better. His pieces command fantastic prices.

However, the dealer soon discovered that the previous owner had cut off Gould’s signature and the date in order to fit them in the frame.

The result? The value of the prints plummeted from an estimated $5,000 to about $700.

I experienced something similar, as well, but thank goodness it was not on such a grand scale. Many years ago I decided to polish my C. Rogers “Belmont” silver forks. I had some of that “dip ‘n’ shine” stuff around, and figured it would work faster.

It did. It took off EVERYTHING – including some black shadowing that was original to the silver. It destroyed the beauty of the forks and pretty much destroyed any value they had.

The fork in the middle lost all of its shadowing. The other two also lost some, but I discovered what was happening before they, too, were completely destroyed.

The fork in the middle lost all of its shadowing. The other two also lost some, but I discovered what was happening before they, too, were completely destroyed.

The moral of the story?

Don’t mess with anything old unless you absolutely, positively know what you’re doing.

Find an expert who knows how to make repairs and restorations in a way that will maintain as much value as possible. Or sell it — even at a loss — to someone who will be willing to obtain expert repairs.

And whatever you do, NEVER cut off an artist’s signature when you frame the piece. That extra scrap of paper could cost you thousands of dollars – and ruin a priceless antique forever.

If you love learning about antiques as much as I do, follow the blog so you won’t miss the next article.
And enjoy the hunt!

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About sarathurston

I'm a marketing communications writer who also loves antiques and collectibles. You can find my shop on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/JanvierRoad
This entry was posted in Antiques, Art, Coins and Currency, Collectibles, Ephemera, Etsy, First Edition Books, Porcelain, Pottery, Vintage and Antique Furniture, Vintage Toys and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to When it comes to antiques, put the scissors down.

  1. Pingback: Pressed and Cut Glass Were Never Meant to be Shabby Chic. | Janvier Road: Where old becomes exciting and new

  2. Pingback: When it comes to antiques, put the scissors down. | From the desk of Sara Thurston

  3. Pingback: Upstairs, Downstairs: Antique English Pine Furniture | Janvier Road: Where old becomes exciting and new

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