Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Woolley and Wallis, Auctioneers of Salisbury-Try to sell me a Gio Ponti Fake.

I was a bit pushed for time so I got some pictures sent from Michael Jeffrey at Woolley and Wallis.
 It was a specialist sale with a specialist 20th Century Design department.

Michael has been around a long time, I first met him at Greenwich town hall 20 years ago, and so I had a bit of trust for his judgement.
How wrong can you be?
Richard Ginori are a company that have made quality ceramics for centuries and their collaboration period with Gio Ponti is a period that I admire. This was a golden period in the history of the company in my opinion. They combined fresh wonderful design with the quality of the reputation that they upheld.
I must say I had a reservation about the quality when I saw the pictures.
Trust and auctioneers is something I keep on forgetting is non-existent.
But I gave the benefit of the doubt to Jeffrey, as this is what he does for a living. There is a good possibility that he had seen more of this genre than I.
He used o work for a major London auction house.

The auctioneer’s job is to look after the seller. So I do as much as I can to mitigate my purchases.

I think it is slight of hand when the cataloguer knows that something is damaged and does not give a condition report willingly so on this occasion I requested said report and received a glowing recommendation as to its worth.

I looked at the catalogue description. A Richard Ginori earthenware vase designed by Gio Ponti.
It even pointed to comparable auction records from Sotheby’s
If Jeffrey had have stood on the steeple of Salisbury Cathedral and shouted.

‘This is Gio Ponti vase’ it could not have been clearer that he was knocking this out as a genuine article. He wrote the script himself.
See picture to right.
Should I buy some Royal Mail shares or a Gio Ponti I thought there is a clear 300 quid profit in the shares but as ever I prefer art and I would make a bid.
I bought it online as per Woolley’s recommendation covered legally by the description. It was not after or from the circle of it was A Richard Ginori designed by Gio Ponti.

I was thrilled to be successful bidders I have hardly seen any Ponti never mind own one.
It was the fact that I got it for £700 that sent a few alarm bells ringing. But I knew I was covered by the catalogue description.
Someday you get busy others you don’t so when I had time I started my research, a little late, granted, and slowly came back down to earth.
I was even more concerned as I had been inspired by one of Ponti’s designs for a vase of my own. So if I can paint t someone else can.
So I asked Colin my friend what he thought and we set out to do a bit of research together.
I wanted to take a back seat so I don’t look too deeply into it.
In no time at all, he did, what Wallis and Gromit should have done.
“Not sure Wayne I think its fake” he proclaimed.

‘How dare the Woolleybacks of Salisbury try to sell me a fake’ I thought

Now it’s my turn so I contacted Ginori and they said quite clearly this is no one of theirs.

Jeffrey phones me talking about the tone of my email telling him he had tried to knock me out a fake.

“How do you know?” he said
“I contacted Ginori”
“Oh right” his attitude changed completely.

I didn’t call him a disgrace to his profession or claim he was trying to extort cash under false pretences.

“Can you send me the correspondence?” he asked

“No” I replied
Left an original Gio Ponti Vase by Ginori.
It makes you feel a bit stupid when this happens “Do they think I am a bit woolly around the ears”

Selling fake C.D’s is a punishable offence. Selling fake Louis Vuitton bags will land you in jail.
At least you know where you are when you go around a dodgy market.

Can Ginori seize this vase as it could damage the credibility of the company and its heritage for absolute quality?
It is not a vase by them
Could Woolley and Walls be reported to the Police?

But when the air of credibility is misleading well it could be said that this is a purposeful action. Well it fooled me this time.
At least you know when a robber is mugging you.
I know we all make mistakes but in this instance it took me 10 minutes to do what Michael Jeffrey should have done. I would like to know why he did no research.
I contacted the trading standards who duly visited them.
I think he will be a bit more careful with his descriptions from now on. I will keep my eye on them.
I will not trust his judgement again and I don’t think you should either.

Should Auctioneers be regulated?
 Should the-saleroom.com be checked over in more detail?


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