Tampa Bay Times

What's It Worth? Age Influences Value ... On Many Levels

What's It Worth? Age Influences Value ... On Many Levels

Sometimes the past that got us into this business has a way of coming back to us in pleasant ways.

I first read Walden; or, Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau, when I was in eighth grade. I reread it in college – and of course, it had a completely different meaning to me those eight years later. I have reread it a couple of times since then, but not in the last 20 years.

What's It Worth? Winners vs. Losers

What's It Worth? Winners vs. Losers

As mentioned before, I’m not a big gambler, because at poker and Vegas games, I typically lose. However, Katrina allows me – even encourages me – to gamble on antiques and fine paintings.

In 2007, a “picker” (a smart, seasoned antique dealer who doesn’t have a shop but sells to other dealers) started bringing us extraordinary, valuable art books and mid-level paintings by well-known artists.

He was buying from a retiree who lived in a mobile home.

What's It Worth? On Age and Rarity In Valuation

What's It Worth? On Age and Rarity In Valuation

The Adoration of the Magi is an oft-depicted scene in medieval art, and this triptych icon (a triptych has three pieces) made of carved wood puzzled us at first with regard to its age.

We bought it for less than $1,000 due to its condition (it is falling apart; and like most icons this old, shows a lot of paint loss).

Our gallerist, who helped buy it from the customer, insisted it was an 18th-century tribute to a 15th-century subject. Another expert was not so sure.

What's It Worth? The Value Of Giving Back: Priceless

What's It Worth? The Value Of Giving Back: Priceless

Today, writing a column about money and “stuff” seems a bit unseemly, so please understand why I am writing about charities instead. These three are particularly personal to Katrina and me.

First is Rotary International, specifically their relationship to the ShelterBox organization. Rotary is one of those old school organizations that continues to be relevant at all times. We have bought several of their ShelterBoxes over the years, and here’s why.

What's It Worth? Step Away From The Cleaning Equipment

What's It Worth? Step Away From The Cleaning Equipment

There is a propensity for people bringing things to sell to completely clean and polish the items before they bring them in. In fact, cleaned and polished items  may mean (to us) ruined items. Most serious collectors  love to find things that are in relatively good to mint  condition, but prefer to find them in their original state.  The colloquial term for this is “as found” or “newly  found;” fresh-to-market items are “barn finds.”

What's It Worth? Design Trends Impact Everything

What's It Worth? Design Trends Impact Everything

For some reason, I can take apart a watch, and measure within a tiny fraction the depth, table and crown angles on a diamond – yet I have never been able to build or fix things around the house. (Family pictures of me wielding a hammer with furrowed brow and nails stored in my mouth are photo-ops. Fake news. Everyone agrees Katrina “wields the hammer” better than I do.)

What's It Worth? Samurai Swords – The Stuff Of Legends

What's It Worth? Samurai Swords – The Stuff Of Legends

Few things are more confusing in the world of antiques than samurai swords. Some say they are noble, some say they represent terror – and both are correct. Centuries ago, the Japanese became experts in techniques of sharpening fine steel. Using almost medieval tools, they crafted what Katrina calls the “thermonuclear device of their period.”