Unsigned & Unmarked Pieces

  • Think of the potential pitfalls in relying first on a signature or mark to identify a piece. It might be fake (think KPM plaques, Meissen, forged paintings); it might be an inferior piece to the norm for that artist or mark; maybe it doesn't have a mark but once did (refinished Gustav Stickley furniture); if it's unsigned, maybe it's a study by a known artist. In this week's show we'll examine the case for specializing in unmarked and unsigned pieces, on the premise that with diligence you can find unsigned items that with research you can attribute to known makers. The advantage, of course, is that you can buy cheaper, usually much cheaper. Have you ever watched the appraisers on Antiques Roadshow who specialize in Chinese art & artifacts? The marks are invariably earlier than when the pieces were actually made. Those appraisers have to be able to evaluate based on what the pieces look like, not on a signature or mark. That's the way it should be for all art & antiques. Signatures & marks can blind us to quality differences. We'll put this proposition to the test on Sunday evening, January 4, 2015 at the usual time, 5PM PST, 6PM MST, 7PM CST, 8PM EST. Hope you can join us! Gary