20 November 2006

Age-value and Art

Back in early October, I went to an antique dealer in town who I knew sold old pointed-arch window frames. The man selling them wanted $150 for the ones about a meter high, $200 for the larger ones. As is. And they were a mess. They had obviously been left out in the rain, there were chunks missing, no or broken glass, peeling paint, etc. I pointed all that out to the man and offered him $20.

Looking back on it, I think he was probably offended that I, a foreigner, would dare to think that one of the region’s treasures could be worth so little. After all, these are not really being made anymore, apparently came from palaces and their origins, age, and relative rarity adds value. But I disagree. The window frames were in terrible shape. They might as well be garbage or firewood and nobody pays even so much as $20 for a few scraps of wet wood. I still can’t believe that he thought $150 was a possible price. He offered to lower it to $130, but that was his final offer. So I, very satisfied with NOT buying one, went home.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about age-value and art and wondering what it all means. The assertion that age=art comes down to everything eventually becoming art if you just wait long enough.

In some cases, age does add value. Like Greek vases, hand made lace, etc. Especially when a craft is lost it has a much higher chance of becoming an art. But alas, the carpentry of making a pointed arch is not lost at all, and arguing that an old, decaying window frame is somehow worth more because it is too broken to possibly serve its purpose is crazy.


Matthew said...

One further thought I have had on this. If they were really worth $150.00, why was he leaving them out in the rain?

Mary Ann said...


katperkins said...

Don't cloud the issue with facts and logic.

Josh said...

i collected baseball cards as a kid because the "value" of the individual cards (as listed in Beckett's) meant 1000% profit for each pack i bought. i've yet to see one penny off all those cards. as my dad advised me, things are only worth as much as people are willing to pay. nevertheless, i don't leave my cards out in the rain. i'm just banking that one day, when the cards are old, i'll find a sucker willing to give me $150 for them.

Dad said...

So how do aging Grandpa Dan's fit into the picture? At least I do not stay out in the rain. Is that a good sign?