Europeans and Native Americans shown to be ~25% related, I’m not surprised!

A great new finding has come to light showing just how related we all really are around this little globe we sail through space on together – not a surprise to me! This is a really great revelation in science and the human race at many levels, and has a direct impact on the research that I have been doing on the relationship between the Mongol-Siberian and Native American Shamans.

I have said for a very long time that, 1) the migration from Asia to the Americas happened significantly earlier than is currently accepted, and 2) there were a much larger number of migrations and migration routes (and thus mixing of peoples) than are also currently accepted. I have always believed that migrations occurred all up and down the Asian continent and down into the South Pacific, crossing over to the Americas. However, it was not until Dr. Denis Stanford’s fantastic work with the Solutrean Peoples of Europe and their stone point relationship to Eastern Native Americans did I believe that ancient migrations may have come from Europe to the Americans until about the time of the Vikings. However, it made perfect sense to me when I first learned about Stanford’s work from my Uncle, who went to Grad School and did field work with him.

However, even though this recent revelation of the genomic relationship between Europeans and Native Americans is not surprising to me, it has not been directly related to Stanford’s work yet, but I think it lends even more credence to it as being that much more possible, as it does similarly so to my own work. Enjoy the read, it is fascinating but commonsensical. “Why are we fussing and a fighting” when we all know we are all the same people? Here is more proof of that.

The amazing article from the New York Times: 24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indians

The image below come from http://www.wellspringcolumbus.org/Default.aspx?tabid=71

circle of hands250

What ironic timing to the last article! The elephants are next to go extinct!

http://www.king5.com/news/editors-pick/6-tons-of-seized-ivory-being-crushed-in-Denver-231828871.html

They killed at least 32,000 African elephants last year, with only about 500,000 knows to exist in the wild any more. At that rate, they all may be dead in under 16 years, that means there may be no wild elephants by 2029!

We really need to put our trillions of war dollars into making the lives of people in Africa and other poaching countries acceptable, this would be easy, just with a quarter of the US military budget! And, we would still have the strongest military in the world and would still be spending more on it that the rest of the world combined! It can be done, but greed continues to kill people, animals, morals and entire societies!

This is part of the Asian arts and antiques industry and we have a responsibility in it too, including prevention!

The image below is from the King 5 News article.

1113ivory_crushed

Shame on all humans! Western Black Rhino has been declared extinct!

Shame on all humans! Western Black Rhino has been declared extinct!

Oh man! Please read the story in the link above! It is really, really terrible. My heart has sunk when I read it! What a loss to the entire history of life on earth, as there was absolutely no natural reasons for this to happen at this time other than ignorance, stupidity, selfishness and insatiable greed! So, fools, where are you going to earn your money now? I am very sorry for the human race’s inexcusable actions against all of my Black Rhino relatives… The main driving force behind this atrocity is the Chinese medicine industry’s ignorance and lack of desire to simply educate people and find a real solution to offer! In the US, we call this a snake oil sale man, and Doctors who do this are called quacks! Shame on any one saying they are a Healing Doctor who prescribed this, or anyone who preached this path to “health”! Also, the greatest of shame on all Governments  including my own and especially China (who would have had the greatest impact on stopping this from happening – if they could end foot binding, they could just as easily change the people’s perceptions of the use of Rhino horn as medicine!), who do not enforce international laws and CITIES on such critical issues! So, so sad!

The image from this article, below, is sadly of a now dead animal that was only recently one of the last living Black Rhinos on earth! We need to start to care and pay attention people, we have become blind to Mother Nature and her vital importance to our long-term survival!  We killed  off the Steller’s Sea Cow by 1768, only 27 years from first contact in 1741! The Elephants ARE next! Do we really want to kill off the largest living land animals? 

111110012209-black-rhino-extinct-conservation-horizontal-gallery

What every Asian art and antiques collector should know BEFORE buying!

What every Asian art and antiques collector should know BEFORE buying!

Hello everyone, I have been on hiatus for a while for an expedition/research trip, travel and personal reasons, you know life IS busy!  But I am back and will start to post again until the next major interruption takes my attention elsewhere.

Today I want to just let you read this article on the truth of the Asian art and antiques business and market. If you have ever bought, are thinking of buying again, or want to start buying, if you are experienced, a novice, and especially if you think you know it all, I urge you to tough out this long article and read it from start to finish. It will be well worth your time for the education you will get on the truth of this industry, especially in China. It is also a good way for me to promote my consulting services to be frank, because I can save you tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars if you just spend a bit with me consulting before you buy! I have done it before and will do it again! I could have saved one lawyer well over $300,000.00 if he would have just set his ego aside and called me before he bought! However, instead, he called me to appraise the pieces he had already bought and I had to tell him ALL of his monumental “ivory” pieces were not only fakes, but either bone (1) or resin (3)! I am here to help stop the you from getting cheated, but you must ask for the help, or I will only be around to break your hearts later, telling you that you got ripped off! If you are willing to spend thousands, let alone millions, wouldn’t it be a wise investment to hire me for a small percentage of that price to make sure? Buy the way, just in case you were wondering, this does not just happen in China, but every country in the world to one degree or another! Caveat Emptor is the key phrase in the art and antiques industry at every level from sellers, dealers, appraisers and experts!

Have a nice read: http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/china-art-fraud/

Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, M.S., ISA, CAGA.

President, Greg C. Brown & Associates, Inc.

Minnesota Sub-Chapter Chairman, The Explorers Club.

1-888-815-9430

Info@asianappraisals.com

Greg Brown portrait. Photo by Andrew Collings.

“Integrity has no need of rules.”
:Albert Camus

 

If you have an interest in detecting fake art and antiques, go to Black Light World!

I am not one to promote other companies and people very often. However, I have found a company with total integrity, who only sell the real and proper black lights for working with fakes and counterfeits. Their prices are fair, they have excellent knowledge and their products are not flimsy cheap pieces, they are good quality. Please feel free to visit their site, and even let them know you found out about them here at my blog. The owner is a genuine and good person to boot: http://www.blacklightworld.com/Contact.htm.

The photo below comes from the website, http://www.lakesidepottery.com/Pages/Repairing-restoring-ceramic-porcelain-china-pottery-lessons-tutorials.html.

UV-light-defect-detection

Art and antiques as a viable asset.

This is an interesting article by Lewis Baer related to art and antiques being a viable asset, and it should pique the interest of anyone who collects or in considering getting into collecting real fine art and antiques. Short and sweet too! Enjoy.

http://art-antiques-design.com/2013/04/07/antiques-a-viable-asset-class-by-lewis-baer/.

Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA. Fine Art and Antiques appraisal, brokering and consulting services.

Christies to operate independently in China! Amazing!

Here is an interesting update on the Chinese auction market and how the major world players are dealing with it! Christies has made a really great and important move in this in my opinion by arranging with the Chinese government to operate independently. To US citizens this might seem like an odd comment. However, in China, generally the rule is you must enter into a joint venture to operate a business in China either with the government itself or with a private entity! Congratulations to Christies, I think this is a really important move and also will bring much more credibility to the Chinese auction market, which has been plagued by questionable practices frequently so far – even with their own citizens. Enjoy the read. http://www.artmarketblog.com/2013/04/09/christies-claims-first-independent-art-auction-in-mainland-china-artmarketblog-com/

The image below come directly from this article.

christieschina

Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA. Appraisals, Brokering, Buying and Consulting, Fine Art and Antiques, Specializing in Asian Art and Antiques, Fine Art Prints, Fossils, and other Fine Personal Property.

Coaching on being wary of even “major players” in the fine art and antique market.

“There are only four thousand Picasso etchings, and over seven thousand of them are in the United States”. Hahaha, I love that quote, which I picked out of a good short article which was presented to me in LinkedIn and come from the Art, Antiques and Luxury Design Blog. This article is a great teaching tool to new collectors on the subject of “Trust” in the fine arts and antiques buying world. Again, and I will talk about this over and over and over, provenance, trust and caution are critical, and the above quote and this article brings that home. I think that the quote would be more accurate if it said, “There are only four thousand Picasso etchings, and over thirty thousand of them are in the United States”. There are more fakes than real ones, I have no doubt about that. It also brings home the fact that just because an art or antique dealer “says it’s so” does not “make it so”, without proof that “it is so”, so ask for proof or hire someone like me to check it out for you before you buy. If they can not prove it, or we believe it is questionable, do not buy it, regardless of what your emotions want to do. There is always another cool thing just around the corner. Also, because the dealer is a “major player” or “well-known,” does not necessarily mean they are actually good at what they do or can be trusted, often ego and narcissism are involved, so “buyer beware” is THE RULE! Someone who tells you that they are not sure and/or need to look into various aspects and get back to you about it is far more trustworthy than someone who always knows every answer. Just ask yourself this, do you know everything about your highest expertise in your life, let alone all of your interests? If you do, you are a rare bird and congratulations! If you are in an art gallery that only sells Picasso works, they may indeed know almost everything about Picasso and his works, if you are not in such a specialty gallery, then you must be your best advocate with your money until you have the proof, then you can let your guard down.

I was just told a story 3 days ago about a situation where one of the wealthiest families in the US/world found they had been duped into thinking that they were buying monolithic antique Chinese ivory tiled statues. They had surely spent several hundred thousand dollars on them. When they later had them appraised, they were shocked and embarrassed to find out that they had been sold fakes made in the 1990’s! These statues still had value, about $10,000 each, but not hundreds-of-thousands! Ouch! So, wealth is not a barrier against being ripped off either. You must check your ego at the door when buying, and expect that you are being set up – period! The lesson from this, which I have previously written about, is that once you have found something you love, it is well worth paying a professional like me to pre-examine them before you buy. In this family’s case it would have been more than well worth flying me to China, if that is where they were purchased (I do not know that part of the story), let alone to another state, let alone to another city, etc., which costs are small compared to the loss due to fraud. Caution is the better part of valor (desire) in the fine art and antiques world. We (experts) are well worth the cost versus savings, and we might instead even help you find a real find for a really great price too.

Remember this, despite it being a sad fact, over 95% of all art and antique “dealers” are dishonest to one degree or another. Yes really! Let me state that again, over 95% of all art and antiques dealers are dishonest to one degree or another! Sometimes it is a small “addition” to the facts to try to “entice” you into being excited into buying, some times it is out right fraud. But what is the difference either way if you get ripped off? For me, the point is, even a little lie makes one dishonest forever, and it is unfortunately all too true that this behavior is rampant in this industry, which is very dangerous for a trusting new collector. Once a dealer has done it once with positive effect for their increase in sales, it has only one way to snowball, the wrong way. Yes, really, 95% – or more! And preaching that they did not know, or that the person who they acquired the piece from said so is not an acceptable excuse, unless they genuinely apologize, are curious about their error and what was found, do not put the piece back out for sale with the same information(let alone excluding the new information you bring to them) and most importantly pay you back in full, which may or may not include shipping costs. If they do this, I would still trust them, otherwise, do not! I had a very rare policy in the antiques industry for my old fine Asian art and antiques gallery, which was, if you could show me through an authority’s statement what I missed or why I was wrong about one of my descriptions/dating/etc., I would buy the piece back, with no expiration date, as long as I was still running the gallery. I never had a piece returned, because I up held my end of the bargain in being a dealer because I had done my work on each piece before I would put it on the floor for sale.

I continue to be shocked when I go into art and antique galleries by the huge number of terribly misidentified items, materials, dates, locations, etc. It is the dealers job to know, that is really what you are paying them for, to know the difference so you can be sure of what you are buying from them for your good money, right? Right! If their policy is “all sales are final”, then  you can ask them to modify that policy and put it in writing on the receipt, it must be in writing! If they will not, then you can bet they do not know their business. The reverse of this is that they might miss something valuable, and you may come across a great find cheap! It does go both ways if you know more than they do.

The lesson a beginner needs to get, be smart, do not fall for the sexiness of what you are being told and look for red flags! Make sure all aspects can be backed up including the medium things are made in/what they are made of and what the provenance is! Before buying expensive pieces, have them put those facts in writing. If they don’t, be careful! Legit dealers have true confidence in what they are selling and have no problems putting it in writing. To be successful as a real collector,  you must deal with caution with everyone in the art and antiques industry at every level until you have a long and very well established relationship that is built on results, which then produces trust. This is exemplified in this story. The other important thing to understand is the wise old statement that “extraordinary claims, require extraordinary proof.” In the case in this article, the story falls apart very quickly, as there was no provenance and the “dealer” could not even properly identify the medium used to create the work! This is like having an aircraft carrier sized red flag being waved right in front of your face – “BUYER DO NOT TRUST THIS LISTING!” So, have a nice read, the article can be found at: http://art-antiques-design.com/2013/03/25/educating-art-buyers-part-2-by-lawrence-klepper/?goback=%2Egde_153474_member_226094189. The image below is from http://www.rottingtelevision.com/lmfao-big-red-flags-blog/.

Which are you looking at? The sexiness “of the piece” or the red flag? Final question, which is going to win, your emotions or your intellect? It is your choice, choose wisely! And, do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help! We may save you thousands, hundreds-of-thousands or even millions of dollars! Well worth our costs.

red-flags-294-1258668772

Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA.

Some basic advice for new art collectors/new collections.

The first thing is, to educate yourself about the area or areas you want to collect in, and not just read one book, but do it in-depth, become a scholar. Otherwise, expect to get burned if you do it alone and with limited education about what you are interested in. It is when a “collector” gets lazy or when they find that they think they know enough that they will get caught by a shyster. Ego gets in the way much more than you think it does, “because I have studied enough already!” There is really never “enough”, because the fakers and fraudsters are aways trying to stay one step ahead of the art historians and especially the uneducated public.  The one thing that you must be exceptionally careful about and understand is that this industry has more conmen/conwomen in it than there are honest people! I hate to say it, but it is true, and you must get it – so only work with people who have stellar reputations and/or have been recommended to you by people you truly know and trust. Be careful every time you buy!

At the beginning you really should use a consultant to work with OTHER than the dealer themselves – dealers have a distinct interest – their own, no matter how friendly and helpful they are. Here is a small example of this, I had a friend refer his father-in-law to me because he wanted to start collecting art and had thought he found a little gold mine in a shop north of the Twin Cities. My friend convinced him to consult with me, and he did. Of the 6 “Fine Art Prints”, 2 x Picasso, 2 x Chagall and 2 x Warhol, all moderate sized, 3 were fake and he did not want to spend the money on the Warhols to have them authenticated appropriately, to which I told him I would have to err on the side of them being forgeries based on the fact that I had two Warhol experts both say they thought they were fakes! Only 1 Picasso was real! I saved him over $14,000.00 USD because he knew enough to know he needed help because he was new to collecting! A good consultant will be happy to teach you and help you head off on your own way. This in turn will allow you to create trust in them so that in the future, if you are not sure, you will always have them to contact and work with again – for which they will be very happy to have the repeat business and trust. Good luck.

How strict is ivory enforcement?

A client asked me the other day, “how strictly does the US Government enforce the trade in legal and illegal ivory?”

So I told them this little story. They are so strict that even the Juggernaut eBay is scared enough of them not to allow the word “ivory” to appear on their site in certain categories. If an item appears in certain categories on eBay with the word “ivory” in it, it sends out a notice for immediate review, and the listing can be immediately taken down. A few years ago I had a long discussion with eBay customer support about a verified antique Japanese okimono I tried to list because I did not understand why my listing was taken down by them when I had disclosed everything. They did not care that I had made the disclosures and that it was clearly pre-ban, antique ivory. What they cared about was that I had the honesty to use the word “ivory” in my listing!

However, eBay’s fear of the US Government only goes so far! Their hypocrisy is tremendous, because if you don’t use the word “ivory” in your listing, you can still sell your real ivory pieces, regardless of age or animal, on their site with relative impunity. There are constantly a large number of real ivory pieces for sale on eBay if you know which key words to use to search. Also, the sellers are “cleaver enough” to use code words like “ox bone”, “bone, “wood”, or use no descriptive word at all, which has taught them that eBay will ignore their listings and not take them down, despite them being real ivory, let alone post-ban ivory. The sellers way around the inability to use the word “ivory” in their listings is circumvented by the use of specific search words and of very clear images and lighting angles in their listings, which show that they are selling real ivory or superior faux ivory. For example, nearly anyone can easily learn to identify real elephant/mammoth ivory in a good photograph by referencing the Schreger pattern/lines (the natural cross-hatched appearance found in all proboscidean ivory), which these sellers some times explicitly show in their images. Here is an excellent example from a listing on eBay today, January 23, 2013, exhibiting exactly this “allowed” behavior, note the search terms “Ox Bone” associated with clear Schreger lines seen on the face and around the neck of the carved figure, let alone the fact that this is clearly an elephant’s ivory tusk: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Huge-Solid-Ox-Bone-Raw-Tusk-L-K-Statue-Head-Sculpture-Bust-Okimono-Netsuke-/121056013400?pt=Asian_Antiques&hash=item1c2f802c58.

I even offered my services to eBay’s legal team, to help purge the real ivory pieces on a daily basis from their site if they wanted to take their “ban” on ivory sales seriously. However, despite being given the eBay legal department’s phone number by the eBay representative, and leaving a message with my contact information and my offer of help, no one ever returned my call! After waiting in vain for a reply, I then called the USFWS and spoke to an officer who is a specialist in endangered species explaining everything noted above. They told me they have been trying to work with eBay for a long time on these issues, but were glad to hear my story and observations, as they had not known of this loop hole.

As a final comment on how seriously USFWS, and in this case the State of New York, takes the illegal trade in ivory, please reference these two New York Times articles that address exactly that. Just this past year, two dealers in NY pleaded guilty to illegal ivory trading charges in NY. The ivory they had in their possession cost an estimated 25 Asian and African Elephants their lives due to poaching! The fines are far too small in my opinion! 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/nyregion/illegal-ivory-leads-2-to-plead-guilty-in-new-york.html?_r=0 

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP37fe357e82724b84b502dbfbae99ee56.html

Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA, CAGA.                                                                                                              President, Greg C. Brown & Associates, Inc. Appraisal Services.                                                             Minnesota Sub-Chapter Chairman, The Explorers Club.                                                                                     (888) 355-6939.                                                                                                          gregcbrown@asianappraisals.com