Smart Collectors Know When They Don’t Know Enough

For one Chicago-area woman, it was a detour that changed her life.

After cleaning out the basement, this woman and her family loaded the car and headed to their neighborhood secondhand store to make a contribution of household items they no longer needed.

On a whim, she decided to stop by Heritage Auctions in Chicago to make sure a painting she was about to give away was not important. But after inspecting the art, specialists at Heritage had some news. The 1922 painting, titled Siberian Girl (No. 14), was by Russian-born artist Leon Gaspard (1882-1964), maybe worth $20,000. The art (above) was consigned and when the auction was over, the piece had realized $118,750.

FROM THE EDITOR

Needless to say, a professional opinion matters. And, bottom line, an auction house is always ready to help, and Heritage Auctions has some of the most experienced specialists in the business. We tap into this collecting expertise with our feature “What All Collectors Absolutely, Positively Must Know.”

“Have passion,” says Heritage auctioneer and Antiques Roadshow regular Kathleen Guzman. “Collect what you love and you will never regret buying.”

“Collect for fun, not for profit,” adds Heritage Auctions sports specialist and consignment director Mike Gutierrez.

“An intelligent collector knows when they don’t know enough,” says consignment director Sam Foose.

And “don’t buy for the sake of buying,” says Frank Martell, Heritage’s director of fine and rare wine. “Look for a good to great example of your target item, and you’ll enjoy it that much more, especially when the time comes to sell it. Nothing is more expensive than spending too little.”

It’s advice worth heeding. Read our story for more nuggets of wisdom from the best specialists around.

DROP ME a line at HectorC@IntelligentCollector.com to share your stories. I remain interested in your discoveries.

Hector Cantu

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Hector Cantú, Editor & Publisher