Sharpening Our Focus

If you are a close reader of this website, you may have already noticed two changes we made these past few days.

In an effort to focus more on the collecting aspects of Arts and Crafts, we have introduced a new feature entitled “What’s It Worth?” Each week I will select approximately seven items, including furniture, pottery, tiles, artwork, metalwork, textiles and books, that we will illustrate and describe, including their present value.


Boy, is that a touchy subject….

I am immediately reminded of the phone call I received several years ago from a woman near Charlotte. This was not long after Barbra Streisand had attracted national attention in 1988 by paying $363,000 for Gustav Stickley’s personal sideboard from Craftsman Farms. This woman also had a Stickley sideboard, which she described on the phone as being, “just like the one Barbra Streisand paid all that money for, except mine is shorter.”

Against my better judgment, I went anyway, only to discover that not only was her Stickley sideboard shorter, the plate rail across the back had been crudely sawn off, the whole thing had been painted white and only partially stripped, the veneer on the doors was loose and chipped, and the piece had been used as a bar by her son and his roommates at Duke. I estimated the value of the hardware at maybe $500, and gently started pointing out some of the sideboard’s condition issues.

She listened politely, then declared, “I know it’s not exactly the same, but based on what Barbra Streisand paid for her sideboard, I figure mine’s worth at least $20,000.”

Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

Our weekly entrees will contain detailed descriptions, either taken from one of the more recent Arts and Crafts auctions or from a private collection, show or gallery. When available, we will include the auction house pre-sale estimate, as well as the selling price, hopefully including any buyer’s premium. Naturally, as anyone knows, what happens at an auction is subject to a variety of factors, from condition to rarity to presentation, description, the weather, and technical difficulties, even the whim of the audience on that given day.

So, use the values as a guide, but not as a chiseled-in-stone dollar value of your version or one you are considering buying.

At the bottom of the Home Page we are also featuring a Shopmark of the Week, presented as a quiz for you to test your knowledge of those critical shopmarks. Know the mark, know the maker.

We hope you will enjoy these new features, and will tell your Arts and Crafts friends about this site. The year 2013 will mark our third year, one which I always said would determine whether or not will be able to continue to bring you the news from the world of Arts and Crafts collecting.

Send it to a friend, for together we grow stronger.

Until next Monday,

Have a great week!


PS – Just scroll down on the Home Page to see our new features!