26 October 2006

How to avoid being sold a fake

Hot on the heels of the heavily reported news of Damien Hirst fakes being withdrawn from sale by Sothebys comes news of another suspicious sale on ebay. I came across this auction on ebay a little while ago of supposedly an oil painting by renowned Scottish Artist John Bellany.

Suspicious of it I emailed John Bellany. His PA confirmed that this is not a painting by Bellany.

So how do we stop ourselves being duped. If the experts at Sothebys can (nearly) be fooled how does the humble punter stop himself from also being fooled. The obvious response if twofold - firstly satisfy yourself of the provenance of a piece. Most established dealers (even on ebay) will be happy to provide you with evidence of provenance. Secondly if something seems too good to be true then it almost certainly is too good to be true. Why sell a large John Bellany oil on ebay with a starting price of 1p if you were happy with it's provenance?

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