As a longtime insider to auctions, artworks, and antiques, Lark Mason is a mine of information. We picked his brain for some tips.
Epoch Times: How should one strategize for an auction?
Lark Mason: It is always a good idea to review items in a sale based on quality even if the estimates are higher than your budget. This is because reserves sometimes are lower than expected and higher estimates can deter some bidders, resulting in limited competition for otherwise desirable items.
Epoch Times: What are some common pitfalls?
Mr. Mason: Always request a condition report and be alert for items that have been unsold in previous sales, indicating condition or other problems.
Epoch Times: What is the biggest auction faux pas?
Mr. Mason: Bidding immediately generally is unwise and is a common mistake of auction novices. Do your homework; check prices of similar items to establish a range of value before bidding.
Epoch Times: How do the best collectors round out their collections?
Mr. Mason: The best collectors buy the best and trade up when there is an opportunity to do so.
Epoch Times: If at the spur of the moment, you decide you want something that you have not researched, how do you get a good price with limited information?
Mr. Mason: Bidding without research is risky. In these circumstances having a dealer advise and bid on your behalf can be a winning strategy.
Epoch Times: What specific advice would you give collectors of Asian art?
Mr. Mason: Look for the best quality objects and try to identify new or under-collected areas. Be wary and patient. Provenance is important. There are lots of excellent copies in the market.
Lark Mason is the founder of iGavel Inc., specializing in the sale of fine and decorative arts. He is known for being a leading expert, appraiser, and television personality on the PBS series “The Antiques Roadshow,” and has served as senior vice president and specialist in Chinese art with Sotheby’s Chinese Works of Art Department.
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