I had lunch today with someone that I have known since I was five, over fifty years if you must know. His wife loves antiques and would love to buy but she feels that they are all just too expensive. I don’t know whether I should sympathize with her or not. She reads all the design magazines and consistently runs across one dealer in New York City that she feels she must visit. I asked her if she had done her homeworkl on the dealer to determine whether they belonged to any trade organizations that would allow her some recourse if her purchases turned out not to be genuine. She had not.
She countered my suggestion by saying that she did not want “museum quality” things because they were too expensive. My response was that you get what you pay for and that buying something cheap probably means that it is cheap. My lack of sympathy centers on my friend’s intense desire to believe that an antique is an antique because a store owner says it is, particularly if the store owner has sold enought to designers that get their work published.
Is this sour grapes on my part? Not really, because I know that she will never be a client of mine. Frustration is more what I feel because I don’t make the case very well for buying from reputable dealers. I am also frustrated by people who believe that genuine things can somehow be cheaper if you go to the right store. In the end, it is the wishful thinking that I object to. It is far, far better to develop a relationship with a dealer you can trust who will work for you than to believe in fairy tales.