It's Just Typical
Re: Misrepresentation or lack of basic knowledge in Auction houses -- beadweyr Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/23/2019, 13:00:55

The caliber of companies who advertise through Live Auctions, is lower than the "big auction houses." Which is to say their descriptions are usually poor. But even the big auction houses make similar mistakes. They do it with a classier-looking presentation.

I have written to any of these on some occasions, to inform them of mistaken identification, poor/incorrect wording, bad dating, and outright frauds (in which new reproductions are offered as antiquities).

I never receive a reply, and the auctions are practically never pulled nor corrected.

Nevertheless, one has to wonder if the issue is a typo. Perhaps the writer meant to say "enamel or glass." Some auction companies are grounded in old outmoded ideas that they keep alive and going. A hundred years ago, "glass" was typically transparent and virtually colorless. Highly-colored glass was referred to as "enamel." A necklace of beads with both types would have to have both descriptive words. OR, perhaps the writer was saying 'I don't know how to distinguish between enamel and glass.'

Note that auction houses also keep-alive the misnomer "glass paste." A hundred years ago, this was a translation of pate de verre—a specific practice for making wet-packed powderglass artifacts. But what the auction houses are doing is sneaky. They use the term "glass paste" to imply that (whatever the item is), it is a "special sort of glass." And this is to elevate those piece to a higher level, where they will command more respect than does "ordinary glass." And they do this to get higher bids. Because this stuff is, in fact, just ordinary conventional hot-worked glass.


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