Using Your Black Light to
Examining Art, Collectibles and More
Black light is helpful in identifying, dating and identifying
fakes and reproductions of many collectible or otherwise valuable
objects, from baseball cards to antique photos to art glass.
While a black light is a useful tool for examining art and
collectibles and even a beginner can find some fakes and reprints,
black light alone doesn't make someone an expert in authentication.
An expert in paintings or trading cards uses a number of tools
to examine the material, and has a vast knowledge and hands on
experience with the material. There are many books written paintings
or baseball cards alone, so this guide doesn't pretend to fully
cover each subject. A black light should be considered one tool
amongst many tools and methods.
The following several chapters will look at different art
and collectible areas where black light is useful.
Essential Tips for Beginning Collectors of Most Anything
Whether it involves celebrity autographs, movie posters, fine
art prints, baseball cards, postcards or antique figurines, collecting
can be good clean fun for boys and girls of all ages. However,
all areas of collecting have fakes, reprints and scams.
The following is a brief but important list of tips that the
beginner should read before jumping into a hobby with open pocketbook.
1) Start by knowing that there are reprints, counterfeits,
fakes and scams out there. If you start by knowing you should
be doing your homework, having healthy skepticism of sellers'
grand claims and getting second
opinions, you will be infinitely better off than the beginner
who assumes everything's authentic and all sellers are honest.
2) Learn all you can about material you wish to collect
and the hobby in general. The more you learn and more experience
you have, the better off you are. Most forgers aren't trying
to fool the knowledgeable. They're trying to make a quick buck
from the ignorant. Besides, half the fun on collecting is learning
about the material and its history.
3) Realize that novices in any area of collecting are more
likely to overestimate, rather than underestimate the value of
items they own or are about to buy.
4) Get second opinions and seek advice when needed.
This can range from a formal opinion from a top expert to input
from a collecting friend. Collectors who seek advice and input
are almost always better off than those who are too proud or
embarrassed to ask questions.
5) Start by buying inexpensive items. Put off the thousands
dollar Babe Ruth baseball cards and Elvis Presley autographs
for another day.
Without exception all beginners make mistakes. From paying
too much to misjudging rarity to buying fakes. It only makes
sense that a collector should want to make the inevitable beginner's
mistakes on $10 rather that $1,000 purchases.
6) Gather a list of good sellers. A good seller is
someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy. A good seller fixes
a legitimate problem when it arises and has a good authenticity
guarantee and return policy.
It is fine to purchase a $9 photo from an eBay stranger, but
it's best to buy expensive items online from good sellers, including
those you have dealt with or those who otherwise have strong
Next: Identifying modern
fakes of antique paper memorabilia
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