Collecting with Integrity
May 03, 2011 | view archive
When Icart collector Larry Jordan asked Antique Helper to assist him in selling his large collection, we knew we were up to the challenge. He spent a good portion of his life collecting and upgrading his collection, and he wanted to be sure that it would be properly represented.
Our Mission Statement very clearly states our purpose:
“Antique Helper Auctions will always conduct business as a trusted, experienced state of the art international marketplace achieving record results for arts, antiques and collections. We provide expert customer driven services to individuals, collectors and estates.”
Providing expert customer-driven services means that we have an obligation to the seller to treat his collection with the utmost respect, while we do all that we can to protect the integrity of items that often represent a family’s history or a lifetime of collecting.
This means that we must very carefully represent this Icart collection, assuring that everything is represented honestly and thoroughly. Detailed photographs and descriptions of every item are only part of the process; we need to do everything we can to educate potential buyers and collectors about the items they will be bidding on.
Occasionally, we feel a certain item requires just a little more educational outreach than others.
In the case of The Jordan Collection, it comes in the form of a book.
Among the outstanding collection of Louis Icart etchings to be offered in Antique Helper’s May 14 Art and Antiques Auction is a very special Icart illustrated book, “Le Nuit et le Moment.”
Each book in this series was individually numbered and accompanied with an original drawing and a copper plate used to print one of the images in the publication; this book is offered along with copper plate for Print #1 in this volume.
Each book was also accompanied with an additional suite of aquatints, plus two suites of etchings, one printed in sepia, the other in black and white.
“It is amazing that this book is complete,” says Senior Researcher and Appraiser, Andrea Hastings. “This is a rare opportunity for collectors. We are unaware of any other complete book selling at auction in recent years.”
Sadly, the rarity of this book comes with a price. Over the years, similar volumes have been disassembled and prints sold individually.
It is unfortunate that the prints from these volumes often return to the market, altered with freshly forged signatures and fake stamps and seals crafted to mislead unknowing buyers.
When this sort of thing happens, the integrity and history of a wonderful work of art is sacrificed. The etchings have far greater value when left as part of the book.
We think Aristotle said it best: "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
Of course, we understand that we ultimately have no control over what happens to an item once it has been sold. It becomes they buyer’s property to do with as they wish.
That said, we do understand that the way an item is represented will have some influence over what becomes of it after it passes into the hands of a new owner.