When you are buying or selling antiques you must be aware of the potentially murky world which you are walking into. The thing with antiques that many people like to take advantage of is that not everyone has the eye to spot what is real and what is not. You must always make sure that you are checking sources and online resources to make sure that what you are buying is the real deal. Scams come in many shapes and sizes and whether you are looking to deal in antique coins or old vases, you must be aware of the scams so that you can avoid losing money. We spoke to the guys at the Sadigh Gallery in New York for some advice on which scams are the most common.
Reproductions Sold As Genuine
One of the most common scams which we see in antiques are dealers who sell reproductions and replicas and pass them off as the real thing. There is nothing illegal about copying an ancient piece of art or coins or relics, but it most certainly is a crime to pass the replica off as the real thing. In order to spot these replicas you really need to know what you are looking for, often there will be telltale signs like electronic markings or cheaper materials, but some copies are incredibly accurate. If you are in any doubt, don’t buy it.
The general school of thought when it comes to autographed items is that they should come with a certificate of authenticity. The problem here however is that people can also forge a copy of authenticity, to go with their forged signature. The key here is to look out for errors in the detail, an example here would be that if something is written in felt tip but it is for a piece from the 1800s, we know that few tips were not invented then. Try to also look for other proof that the item is genuine, a photograph for example which can back up the piece, again if you are in any doubt, don’t buy the piece.
Auction House Rip Off
If you are heading to an auction looking for a particular piece, you need to be on the lookout for auction rings. The way that the ring works is that a group of antique dealers agree not to bid against each other on a piece, especially in a poorly attended auction, one will bid and then should that dealer win, they will meet with the rest of the ring and sell the piece to another dealer for a higher value, splitting the profit between the ring. Another trick they can use is to place a bogey customer to drive up the price of something that you are bidding on, before bowing out and letting you pay above the odds for the item. To avoid these scams make sure that you only use a reputable auction house.