Wednesday

Week 5, Antiques Road Show

- HMS Victory Ship, in the Battle of Trafulgar
- Ostrich eggs with pictures of ship - 2000 each
- 400 year old cup – only worth 100 pounds:
  • Antiquarium thinks it should be worth 1000 because it’s so old and exquisite, and in good condition, but it has no ‘special status’
  • So then, what gives something value? Maybe this ‘special status,’ an event, its ability to survive time, or how high it is in demand
    • Reminds me of Cycladic figurines - became very popular for a time with the interest in ideas of the ‘primitive’ and ‘pureness’
- Sword from Napoleonic wars (1796):
  • Officer’s name is inscribed; this is attractive to collectors. A name and a face to be associated with, not just an object in itself
  • Used for crowd control by people on horses
  • Exceptional condition
  • Since there’s popular interest in the Napoleonic wars, its attributed a value of 3000-4000 pounds!
- Bishop’s ring
  • An extraordinary thing to find in a marketplace, usually retained by the church
  • 19th century, scenes of the crucifixion
  • Purple colour stone – purity
  • Its rareness gives it a value of 1000 pounds
    • So maybe rareness creates value
*How do they know so much about the objects? They would need such a vast knowledge base about everything. Do they examine the objects beforehand, like with a team? Or do they get the objects and then call in experts in that area to come in and tell the object’s story and report its value?

Emerald brooch – jungle green
  • Synthetic emeralds worth nothing, God’s emeralds worth lots!
  • 10,000 – 15,000 pounds! Again, rareness creates value
- Cast bronze figurine (humorous – cats in a boat)
  • Turned out being worth 500 pounds. After finding out its value, owner declared “I will look at it in a totally different way”
- A cult of all things to do with Nelson
  • Raises the issue of fakes (again reminding me of Cycladic and Cypriot figurines)
  • Box > worth 10 – 20 pounds, but if it’s associated with Nelson it’s worth around 800 pounds!
*So it seems the story is important to attributing value, its history and associations
- Woman’s skull collection: dolphin, human skull, mouse – no commercial value

Relevant class notes:

Connoisseurship
- Value based on consensus and quality
- Revelation, only the antiquarium could discover
- Just like the art critic and his authority! Sounds like art historical discourse again
- Pedigree, trying to establish provenance
- Looking for hallmarks of authenticity
- Aspect of education as well

Connoisseurs
- Relate to the domain of objects
- Decipher images
- Polish up totems of ancestry
- By means of the canon of quality and more precisely pedigree or provenance
- Tells us about symbolic capital (social value) – the individual who possesses these objects, especially when its on TV
-This symbolic capital is as important as the economic one – you are elevated in the community because you possess it
- Works acquire value as they fit into a marketplace

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