Anyone catch the premier of Auctioneer$ on TLC last night? Ack! It was terrible! I won't go into a full-on rant, but the bottom line is that it is yet another show that does not accurately reflect the antiques market. Seriously, what auctioneer is going to recommend spending $250 to repair a $650 object? And what auctioneer has the time to "test" to make sure everything they sell works? And in no way would any responsible auctioneer actually give any credence to a certificate of authenticity that looks like it was printed up on an HP DeskJet. Don't get me wrong, I think it's super-fabulous that such shows are getting regular Joe and Jane Sixpacks out there interested in antiques, but I am beyond concerned with how they are doing it.
Sidenote: the Lincoln hair...it brought over $1000 when these yahoos sold it, and that's the high end for that thing. But rare? Nope...check eBay, there are a handful there right now. I've seen many of these, often framed the exact same way, and typically carrying impressive provenance, including the great collector Malcolm Forbes, and all the way back to a Caroline Wright who died in the 19th century. I think what has happened is that someone bought THIS LOT at the Malcolm Forbes sale at Christie's in 2002. Based on the price, I suspect the buyers didn't think much of the authenticity. And then, someone later, for some unknown reason, split up the locks and framed them in groups of several strands and sold them off. They may have made good money, but now tell me, how do I know that the hair that just sold on Auctioneer$ is actually from that group? Once it's left the annotated envelope, how can you be sure? (BTW, the image above is of another frame of Lincoln hair..this one sold at Alexander Autographs early this year for less than $400.)