Hi there readers and collectors I’m hoping your all well and safe where ever you may be and can I just add I hope your respective countries are getting lots of support from you folk in the 2016 Olympics.
Team GB from my country of the UK are doing really well this games and I can see lots of new sports stars on the queens honours list for next year.
Ok so I was just about to get some shut eye when wiggles awoke and started playing so I thought I’d write a quick blog.
I thought we could go over some fundamentals a year on and hopefully some of my tips will stop you from making bad choices but please note everybody is ultimately in charge of their own minds I’m just sharing my knowledge with you.
If one blog stops someone from buying fauxs etc. then I feel it’s been a success.
Let’s start with the hardest pieces in any collection to identify properly and that’s bronzes and a wise collector once told me that it’s always best to see a bronze as a reproduction until proven otherwise and I see truth in this statement.
Of course all bronze artists are different, some use factory markings while others just sign their work so when these pieces are copied it can be hard sometimes to know whether you have a good representation but not the real thing, I have learned this myself with one particular bulldog bronze but it was a few years ago now.
I remember when eBay was flooded with this piece it even got as far as dealers shops where it was claimed to be a real bronze by the amazing artist Franz Bergman, on the coin impressed onto the bulldogs underside is the name Geschutzt with what is a very good impression of the family’s urn symbol, but if you do your homework it will tell you that these coins were never used by this family and there should be a Ü instead of the normal U as this is how it was spelt originally.
I’m no expert in bronzes myself and I’m sure there’s much more to this industry than meets the eye both good and bad but unless I have solid proof now on any bronzes I leave them be but don’t let this put you off there are some amazing originals everywhere all over the world I’m just suggesting doing some research in to bronzes before committing any funds to one.
Bling Bling the silver thing
Silver, it’s a beautiful precious metal that I only started realising about when I started the collection, years ago this hardcore collector was a little bit of a poser I loved my gold and had lots of chains and rings back then.
Never touching silver even to the point I didn’t see it as no more than stainless steel.
Today is a totally different story and if you have seen the collection you will see that silver has taken over as one of my larger sub collections and a weakness of mine in the collecting field.
As many will know the purity of silver is of differing standards depending on what country it is made in so for English sterling silver it’s 925 parts over 1000 I think Russia is 800, India is lower but the strongest of silvers in purity is the silver from America with a purity of 999 parts per 1000, silver is also sometimes weighed differently to other metals and this is called a Troy ounce so instead of the 28 grams that make an ounce it’s 33 grams instead.
Dating most silver is relatively easy so easy actually all you have to do these days is google the markings found on the object.
If a piece has full hallmarks there’s a good chance it was made by a well known silver smith that would stamp their entails the country it was made the city and the year at the end, I’m talking about English hallmarks but this goes for most countries.
The more modern mass produced pieces are just normally stamped with the silvers purity number and I have realised that the best silver I’ve found has two sets of hallmarks this must mean a sign of real quality.
This metal can be tested quite easy as its not magnetic and a tip from me when testing silver is use an ice cube silver melts ice really quick and this way your not putting any chemicals on what could be a really old rare piece that you may of found.
Unfortunately silver is copied quite a bit but with some back ground research it won’t be long before your dating your silver by period and actual year and working out the difference between silver and plated pieces which also come with their own set of markings, remember unless your silver has provenance (special in some way) it will only be seen as a scrap piece, and I hope as the conduit of my daughters collection I get to save as many silver pieces related to the breed as I possibly can because once melted down back to bullion there’s only paper records left which would be a real shame indeed.
Chipper or dapper!! porcelain pieces
Now there’s only one thing worse than owning unstamped pieces and that’s owning pieces that have fake stamps and are copied, most of the time to a poor standard both in the porcelain used and the finished patina too.
It’s not easy at first to spot the fake ceramics from the real deal and it doesn’t help when many outlets sell these to the public maybe unwittingly but still pushing out pieces that really are no good on your cabinet shelves.
A few things to look out for first is any form of identification! Does the piece have its makers stamp nice and clear the earlier you go back you will notice that stamps used to be stubbed into the piece until the newer ink stamps came along and stamped onto the porcelain before fired in the kiln.
If you find you do have a nice stamped piece but the stamp is crossed out this is the market speaking and letting any other collectors know there is a fault with the piece this could be down to damage or restoration or even failure on the painting of the piece i.e. a pattern doesn’t quite connect or match up and some collectors even cross out the fakes too which is a good moral thing to do as it means no one will be paying over the odds down the line if they were to buy the piece at all.
A dirty bum (please excuse me) is a great way to tell if your piece has age it doesn’t mean it’s concrete proof but does show that the piece has been around for a while and if you ever come across a fake piece you will see the underneath is spotless, and I’ve even seen naive sellers stating in their ads that these pieces are old and rare yet they crop up time after time.
The description showing totally different dates which is funny because if I were selling pieces I’d want to scope out the competition and would realise the jump in dates let’s called them uneducated guesses instead.
I’ve mentioned this before as a certain country that’s known for coping uses this method so much you can see the repeat pattern they try to achieve to get the cracked glaze look, Crazing happens naturally only being dictated by the environment that surrounds the piece for example if a piece is placed on a working fire place the effect would speed up quicker than if the said piece was stored away or seated somewhere with a differing temperature.
If you run your hands over genuine crazing you can feel the tiny lines (be careful as this can create a peel chip to accrue then a tiny piece flakes off) it should have a rough texture and maybe bumpy in places this is not the same for fakes where the grazing is patterned onto the piece then glazed over to give it that real look effect.
Those quirky metals
Many metal pieces I have noticed do have markings I think these are mainly patent reg numbers and can be found on most metals including good brass and pewter, I’ve not come across coping as such in this segment, yes bronzes are metal but Im thinking more about standard pieces like the brass Jennings pipe holder in the collection, old metal poker trays and even metal made humidors.
One piece I have seen copied is the Mack truck emblem but I’m not sure if it were a fake or somebody had made it as a studio piece it was quite authentic but didn’t have the all important patent number on the dogs chest like the genuine ones have.
I do not think I fail in this segment I truly believe that metals are not as faked as other materials and put out onto the market I’m not sure if it’s to do with money, respect for the patent, or just that metal figurines have no real value in the black trade markets of today.
Please do not let value put you off acquiring metal pieces I think if you can get enough together and of quality there is value to be had in the sub collection as a whole.
If your buying metal antiques there maybe a few out there that are fake if this is so look for tail tale signs like the age of the nuts and bolts screws hinges etc I recently come across a humidor that had been drilled through and two curtain hooks put through and bent to make the piece into a bank for pennies, I see this normally as up cycling but I would never go changing an antique myself unless I had two pieces that married up very well.
Marvellous marble mix
Ok so there’s one sub collection I can say I do not know enough about yet though I see tonnes of it everyday appearing on certain social medias and that’s the resin made pieces, on the upside I can tell the difference between pieces due to their makes and know of such makers like Danbury mint, north light and Leonardo.
I think Robert Harrop and zelda kingdom are amongst this category as well as many others I’m yet to see or hear about.
I do not think that resin pieces are copied there’s no point really as anyone can make them I mean of course if you copyright a piece then it’s your design etc. but I have seen so many unnamed pieces I do think it’s possible to make your own.
I had a custom piece made last year I forget the material used but it’s proof that there’s artists out there making great things with this cheaper of materials.
My advice if collecting resin is go for limited edition pieces try and get artists to blow you away with their custom made wonders or go straight to the top and start collecting the Danbury mint bulldog collection they are all bright lovely pieces, that display quite well the only down side is they are only worth what you pay for them they won’t increase over time, if investing and auction houses tend to shy away from these unless the top names.
I have noticed that America and some European countries use this material a lot and is sold in great quantities with newer pieces being more mass produced than ever before.
Please note even I own a few I don’t wish for folks to think it’s below this collector to own a piece or two but I will admit I do not see the appeal of filling a house with just resin but as always everybody to their own.
Lastly let’s talk about glass and Crystal.
This material is fairly cheap to use but finding wonderful pieces are few and far between, there are many moulded pieces large solid chunks shaped into the dog and these do include modern pieces from such outlets as Lalique and baccarat.
If you look online you will find many small versions most not looking like a bulldog and for the best results try contacting your local glass blower like I did, Neil Harris is one of these amazing glass artists and one of the very few that have attempted the breed and to a good standard too.
I have not come across any fauxs as such I don’t think there’s any money in coping glass pieces unless it’s the top end pieces like Murano but I have yet to come across a faux glass bulldog yet.
These pieces do display very well but you have to be mindful where you place them i.e. anywhere near sunlight is a big no as they attract sunlight and do not place them to near the top of cabinets if bulb is strong as this will cause you piece to end up cracking.
Westmorland glass are quite collectible I have seen a big selection yet as its the French bulldog look we only have the one in the collection he was sent by mistake by a seller whom then didn’t want him back so he lives here no amongst all the English pieces.
Not a know it all
Please note I got a wonderful inbox message Saturday, the collector thanked me for creating the site and commended me on my knowledge of this subject and gave me ideas for future ventures, although getting such messages is amazing, please remember I do not profess to know everything about collecting and I’m not even a decade old in this field yet.
So my blogs consist of what I know and have picked up on the way, I still make mistakes from time to time but I am learning too and I hope passing on what I have learned makes life easier for you good people out there and that way you to can create a fantastic collection that can be used in so many different ways, I thought I’d end up as a online retail store selling antiques but now going down the museum route and as I always say if I can anyone can.
Until next time folks happy collecting…
Thank you for reading today’s blog.
I hope it’s helped to sharpen those senses and not just go for anything seen as you maybe losing out without the proper research other than that I would like to let folks know the webmaster building new website has said it should be ready by the 11th September, so until then please continue to share and like and if you like what you have seen please use link at bottom it will take you to the worlds only online bulldog collection…