Thursday, November 05, 2009

Let The Buyers Beware

I have neither time nor inclination to alert all the "dealers" who misrepresent provenance. I have seen an increase in misrepresentations lately. If a dealer can not cite specific references to back up a claim do not buy from him. Here is how this dealer tap danced around his lack of accuracy:

"Notably, volume bears the bookplate of "Alexander Hamilton", presumably the famous American statesman. Bookplate dates from the 18th century and was pasted over scribbled annotations on verso of front cover [see images]. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, a Founding Father, economist, and political philosopher. He led calls for the Philadelphia Convention, was one of America's first Constitutional lawyers, co-writing the "Federalist Papers", a primary source for Constitutional interpretation."

This is not the bookplate of Alexander Hamilton the American statesman.In fact, it is not an American bookplate.

Last week another dealer offered me a bookplate that was also questionable. It may have been what he claimed it was but when I asked him to cite some sort of reference he finally sent me the following :

"Sir, I bought the book from an estate sale of a collector in Los Angeles. He had other rare collector books as well as signatures and autographs. Apparently he was well known for his collection. I was told the bookplate was authentic by his wife, and also saw the small penciled notation in the book that stated that it was when they purchased it. I hope this helps "

Sorry pal, that's not good enough for me. See you on Sunday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This doesn't need to be published, but FWIW I was at the auction where the seller of this "Alexander Hamilton" bookplate purchased it, and the auctioneer specifically said from the podium that it was =not= the statesman. There was no way the seller could have missed this, so in my mind it crossed the line from naïveté to outright misrepresentation, and no amount of "presumably" masks it.

Thanks as ever for your always informative blog!