UV Black light a Smart Way To Inspect Collectibles, Heirlooms – See Short Video

You don’t have to be a sophisticated collector of art to need a UV black light in your pocket when you are antiquing, gallery hopping or wandering around auction previews. If you have one in hand, its FUN to see the hidden conditions, restorations etc! Here’s a short video about a painting collector who didn’t use one and got taken big time!

See another VERY INTERESTING 2 min. video, an informative article and a UV blacklight package at

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Cleaning Lady Strikes Again! Plus Flaking Painting and Bad Restorations

This delightful scene of high society Veneto, Italy at the end of the 1700′s was purchased by its collector and brought to us for its problem of flaking paint. Apparently, the cleaning lady’s damp rag wiping down the lower areas (most easily reached) has caused this oft seen problem… which is totally avoidable.

Cleaning lady's damp rag causes paint to crack and flake

Flaking in lower areas is due to wiping the surface with a damp rag.

But even experienced collectors make mistakes. This problem of flaking is not the only problem: the painting has already been through at least a couple of restorations that were poorly done including mounting this painting to masonite and repainting much of the sky and clouds. What was thought to be valued at $25,000 is now being dumped for $1,000.00 because of condition problems. (more…)


Russian Old Master Painting Rescued From Trash

Discolored varnish and poor restorations obscure real qualities

Russian Masterpiece Painting is Resurrected

Recently, this artwork was politically classified to be thrown away until a sharp-eyed collector saved it from the trash. What probably happened, over the last 100 years, was that after a small rip had been repaired poorly, then again, and then another rip… and finally, the damage and the dirty surface made it fit for “long term storage” where it was forgotten… until someone started to clear things out.

This photo shows a detail of the painting during cleaning of the overpaint and discolored varnish revealing exquisite details and artistic quality. We’ll keep you posted as we resurrect the gorgeous woman in a white dress enjoying the good life.

This painting has a great story I’m sure you’ll find interesting, even in its abbreviated form: (more…)


Tips for Collectors: Protecting Yourself from Counterfeit and Fraudulent Art

Real versus Fake?

Distinguishing a genuine work of art from a counterfeit wannabe stands at the base of every collector’s worry. “Fakes” are not always an effort to deceive.  However, most “fakes” are fraudulent. Here are a few different scenarios to consider:

  • An artist’s estate can ethically add an artist’s signature to a piece post mortem in an effort to identify the estate and the artist on artwork that was unsigned originally.
  • An unscrupulous art dealer can add a signature to make the artwork more valuable.  Even the counterfeit signature of an unknown name can make the artwork more valuable than an unsigned painting.
  • A “new” painting can be antiqued to look old.
  • An old painting can be restored ineptly in order  to mask or disguise repairs that it changes the nature of the artwork and the art is no longer an “original.”
  • Old artwork, now dirty, can be mistaken for something it is not.  This can be an honest mistake by a collector or dealer.

Here are two interesting examples that recently came into the lab: (more…)