Know your Pearls.

Know your Pearls.

I have been asked several time recently, if I buy Pearls? The answer is yes I do but 8 out of 10 times when I go to look at these Pearls I fined they are not real. I have no interest in Faux Pearls because they are today costume jewelry and of low value. Real Pearls have unique characteristics and over the years, like most quality estate jewelry have retained their value and the best sets have appreciated. On the web site for Sarasota Antique Mall ( I have a page that gives some ways to tell if you have real or faux Pearls. (All about Pearls and other Estate jewelry.) Or you can always set up an appointment and I will be happy to advise you. You never know, possibly you have a valuable set like these.


Christie’s Image

The Cowdray Pearls, a natural grey pearl necklace from the collection of the late Viscountess Cowdray, Lady Pearson (1860-1932) – sold at Christie’s London for $3.35 million

Sarasota Antiques is actively buying fine estate and old Jewelry including Pearls. Please give us a call if you are selling or just looking for a second option.

Phone Robert (941) 809-2388 Go to website Email


When is a print valuable?

This I find to be an interesting question. Original art has always demanded a higher price than printed art. I believe the main reason is this is true is due to quantity. By the meaning of the word ORIGINAL. An original is a “one of a kind” the only one to be made. Printing was invented to reproduce work more accurately and to make multiple copy’s of the work faster and there for cheaper.

This is not to say that prints are not valuable though.

As an example recently Christies sold a HENRI MATISSE, lithograph (Repos sur la Banquette1929, on Arches paper, signed in pencil, numbered 9/50) for $25,000


This is a lovely example of Matisse work and shows he is an excellent print maker.
Several things that need to noted about this work.
It has his original signature, It is numbered, He only made a small quantity. (This one is the 9th out of 50 total)

On the other had Christies also sold an original of his work last year.
The work was in crayon and on paper it was not signed by his had but stamped with his monogram. It also should be noted it had an impeccable provenance. I personally don’t think its his finest work but as you can see from the price, A one of a kind is worth more than a one of fifty.

Untitled 1

Tête, cheveux boucles
Stamped with initials ‘HM.’ (lower right) black Conté crayon on paper

When I am out hunting for Antiques I am always very skeptical of printed works. I know that there are lots of fakes out there and it is so hard to tell, even for an expert.  I try to always remember this simple rule.

“If it is to good to be true, then it probably is.”
Also I take into consideration the cost. Like buying a lottery ticket. If the print is $5 at a thrift store, I may take that gamble.

At Sarasota Antiques we offer free appraising service. So if you have items you are selling or looking at buying, give me a call. I am always happy to help.

Happy hunting.

Sarasota Antiques

Robert  (941) 809-2388

If you have something interesting to add to this post or one of my others please send me an Email.

“Jack of all trades, master of non.”

Election is over, Back to work.

Well the Election is over and wether you like the outcome or not, It back to work for most of us. I for one will be happy not to see another negative political advertisement.

The saying go’s
“Jack of all trades, master of non.”

I would like to think I’m a knowledgeable antique dealer. The truth is I know enough about a lot of subject to be dangerous. There are so many different categories that no one can be an expert in all. The things that I have been good at over the years is keeping an open mind, doing lots of research and not hesitating to ask questions of other so called experts.

Recently I took some items to New York with the thought of putting them for sale at ether Christies or Sotheby’s. I Phoned my contacts and with my appointment set took the item in. My first appointment was upsetting to say the least. The “expert” told me in a very dismissive way “Total fake, not original and would not consider putting this in one of our sales.”  So with my tail between my leg I scurried off to my next appointment. Just a little nerves I un-boxed the items and held my breath. Thinking I was going to be thrown out. I waited and to my surprise the “expert” was thrilled.   “not the finest work by this craftsman but what a lovely example”
I decided not to put the items in the Auction but sold to a collector directly.

This trip reinstalled the lessons I learned many years ago.
Don’t give up to quickly and seek the opinion of several “EXPERTS”

If you are looking to sell or buy. Please give me a call I am always happy to give my opinion. I don’t charge for phone or Email consultation and you never know I might save you some money or pay you more.

You can reach me at Sarasota Antiques (941) 809-2388
My web site is

You can’t sell that on Ebay??????

Did you know that you cant sell Ivory on Ebay but you can sell fur coats? Is there any sense in that? What is the reasoning?

Small Ivory music box in the form of a piano.

Small Ivory music box in the form of a piano. Circa 1790

There are several other things the online giant forbids that also don’t make sense.
German WW2 items specifically Nazi.

Ok Maybe I get that. Well no I don’t. I think its part of history and we need to remember, both the good and bad, especially the bad. That way I hope we don’t repeat those horrible episodes.

I fully respect that Ebay can use its own judgment to allow or not, but I think there should be one rule for everything. Don’t sell Nazi things and don’t sell Christian things. The Christians have killed and persecuted more than most. Partially the Catholics, add to the list of no’s, Roman things, I seem to remember the Romans killed a lot of Christians. The Spanish weren’t very nice to the Inca and then there are the New Englanders, killing all those witches. (Most as it turned out were not witches but that’s another Blog.) Modern history is full of horrific episodes and the list could go on and on.

I say all of this with a smile on my face, as a bit of a joke. or just food for thought.
I don’t condone the bad things that our ancestors did but rather learn from them and educate people to be more tolerant and understanding. I also don’t like being told you cant by big government or big business.

I don’t deal in war relics or fur coats, but I would not trash them ether. One man’s trash can be another’s treasure.

I have several pieces of antique Ivory for sale in my shop. All well over 100 years old and I had no part in harvesting the Ivory. The carving and workmanship is quite amazing showing a tremendous amount of skill.

I don’t condone hunting and I am glad the governments have outlawed the trade of any new Ivory. I would never purchase a new piece of Ivory and I also wound buy a fur coat.  If you don’t like them I understand I won’t force you to buy them. Please don’t tell me not to sell them.

French 18th Century Ivory modal cannon

French 18th Century Ivory modal cannon

The Signs of a Valuable Antique

Tiffany silver set of flatware

You’re going buy some furniture and accessories, so why not buy something that can hold its value. Antiques often have a greater chance of keeping there value than new machine-made items. Also, antiques add character, history, and warmth to your house.
Whether you are buying antiques because of their beauty, or because you are hoping that they will hold their value, the best rule is to buy what you like — and to keep your “RADAR” out for values. RADAR is an acronym
Really great condition.
When you find an antique that meets these five criteria, you’ve probably found an item that’s likely to hold and possibly appreciate as the years go by.

If your buying or selling it is always best to goto a reputable dealer. Remember if its to good to be true it probably is. I cant tell you how many times I have heard “Well in New York I could get lots more” If that truly is the case then I know I would take it to New York.
Have fun hunting for that special treasure and good luck.

Meissen figurine Taylor on goat171 Painter 41 Gustav Franz

To find out more information on the photos go to Sarasota Antique Mall

Silver flatware set by Tiffany

Meissen Figerine circa 1790

What is Sterling silver?

What is Sterling silver?                               silver-tea-set

In recant months the silver buying business has been very strong. We have had many customers asking “What is Sterling Silver and what is the difference with Silver Plate?”

Firstly, Sterling is the term used to describe the purity of a silver item. Most silver items are not made of pure silver because it would be to soft. So a small amount of other metals are added to give more strength to the item.
Pure silver is rated as 99.9% Sterling is 92.5% That is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other (most often copper)
Sterling silver is the most common standard used it was established in Europe in the 12th century. Markings vary and it can be hard to tell if your item is sterling so my advice is to contact a dealer. Sarasota antique Mall is always happy to look at any item if you are interested in selling or not. or phone (941) 809-2388

Silver plate: This refers to an item that has been made of a less valuable metal and then a thin layer of sterling silver is applied over the surface to give the appearance of real Sterling silver This is usually to save money and yet have a good looking item. Silver plate items do not have any commodity value but may have an intrinsic value. Again it is sometimes hard to know if you have a plated item as the markings were often made to be misleading. Seek the advice of an expert.

Hear is an example of English sterling markings known as Hallmarks

Also some interesting infomation on some of the best American silver companys.


Gorham Sterling Silver

sterling silver hallmarks
From Sarasota antique mall

What are Antiques?

Over the years I have bought thousands of Antiques. In-fact today I am still looking and buying antiques. My business survives on buying. If I don’t buy I cant sell and if I don’t sell then I go out of business. Having now stated the obvious lets get on with the real problem. What is an Antique? This may to some be a retarded question, but I don’t think it is. I think there is a lot of confusion out there about antiques. I think the thing is we all have our own standard. Some might say, “Well an Antique has to be over 100 years old” others may say, “something that isn’t made any longer” the webster dictionary has it as.
1. Existing since or belonging to earlier times
2. Being in the style or fashion of former times
3. Made in or representative of the work of an earlier period

I don’t think any of these disruptions are wrong but I don’t think they fully explain what an antique is ether. The truth is that each of us have our own idea and standard. I like to think that an antique is over 100 years old and has some rarity, it shows a high standard of craftsmanship and quality. Something that has a high value.
I don’t always stick to these standards but normally a combination of these things work for me

There are many misconceptions about Antiques out there and some I find quite humorous.
Just because its old doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.
(The wooden toilette seat from the cabin in West Virginia)

Just because it came from Grandmas house doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.
(Very nice old lady. Loved to shop at Kmart. Gave this to me just before she passed on, about 6 months ago. It has a “Made in China” sticker on it? Don’t know why she would have put that on it?)

Just because it was Grandmas prize possession doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.
( Small glass dish with engraving “Best bingo player of 1948”)

Just because it Antique doesn’t mean it antique or valuable.

These are all things I have been offered to buy and the man who was trying to sell the toilette seat was quite upset when I was not interested.

People collect all sorts of things,”one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

I think that if you are wondering if you have something of value maybe an antique and your not positive. Ask an expert. Most dealers I know are happy to share there knowledge, when approached in a polite way. If you have an item you are trying to get more information on or are trying to sell give me a call. I don’t charge for my opinion and you never know you may have an Antique. Give me a call (941)809-2388