Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 32

life - ANTIQUES Philip Hoare Says ‘When In Doubt, Check it Out!’ By Philip Hoare F.T.V.I As a professional valuer with forty years of experience (17 of them spent at Phillips in Bond Street) I still find it extraordinary that so many people, when selling their valuable possessions, don’t take the time to seek professional advice or to have their antiques appraised/ valued properly. It is so easy to take the wrong advice and therefore to grossly undersell. Before you part with any piece you are unsure of, you should always consult a professional valuer, a knowledgeable auctioneer or an established and reputable dealer. They will give a fair and honest assessment. There have been so many instances where private individuals rashly sell incredible pieces at boot fairs and markets without looking into their provenance and history before they sell. Two recent events spring to mind. Firstly, A Medieval, French Champleve Ecclesiastical candlestick, wh ich was bought for £20.00 at a boot fair, eventually sold after changing hands several times for £9,000! Secondly, A Chinese Ceramic Brush Pot with Yellow Glaze and Imperial Seal mark dating back to the early 17th century was purchased for only £1.50 at a boot fair it later realised £1,500!!! and was sold to a Mainland Chinese Collector. These mistakes have also been known to occur on the Internet; many important items have been 32 sold for relatively little on well known trading sites because the owners don’t take the time to research them. Always remember my old adage ‘When in Doubt, Check it Out!’ Never part with something until you know its true worth. Much of my time is spent researching and sourcing for clients and, of course, I also carry out many valuations for insurance. Again it is essential that insurance valuations are correct and reflect the true market values – That’s why it is important to update your valuations every three years the markets are constantly fluctuating. It used to be that antiques were a perfect hedge against inflation, their values rose year after year. The accepted norm that antiques would always rise in value, however, has been completely overturned. Take furniture for example; only the very best examples of period quality and style have retained their appeal and continue to rise. Prices today have not only levelled they have also depreciated considerably. All the main stays (Dining Tables, Sets of Chairs, Tallboy Chests) are 50% lower then they were 10 years ago. This is also true in other areas of the Antiques world – Silver and Plated Wares, European ceramics, Victorian middle of the road Pictures all seem to have lost their sparkle. I often find, when instructed to prepare an inventory and valuation, that clients have been paying inflated Insurance premiums based on outdated values. Of course, its not all doom and gloom for Antiques, some collectors markets have gone from strength to strength, and in many fields price rises have been exceptional. A good example of this would be Military Medals. Recently I updated a valuation for a client which had been completed 12 years ago (1994) the value of his family medals during this time had risen 10 fold - so instead of being worth in the higher hundreds, the collection was worth many thousands! Another important reason for insurance (retail replacement) values to be correct, is that if something untoward occurs - either loss or damage - The insurance company will, if the item is worth a significant amount, ask for proof of value before they can settle the claim. Of course it is very difficult, if not impossible to prove a value once a piece is lost or stolen. In conclusion, if you are a custodian of Fine Art, Antiques, Jewellery or Collectables always remember that it is most important to make sure you are aware of their true values ‘When in Doubt Check it Out!’ is my catch phrase! In the next issue of Island life I will be writing about some of the more interesting discoveries I have made during my career – many on the Isle of Wight! Picture Below: ‘Collectors Bear - Going Going Up!’ Picture Left: ‘English Bureau - Going Going Down!’ Island Life - www.isleofwight.net