Doing the right thing

When we decorated our home in the village we purchased a variety of antiques (all modern).  Fast forward a few years and we decide to sell our home and downscale.  Generally when you move into new place, the old furniture doesn’t exactly work in the new place.  You need a couch but you don’t need a six foot couch, you need a 5 foot couch.  After many discussions, we decided to sell some of our antiques at auction with the Wright Gallery in Chicago, who were fantastic. 

Wright did research on all of our pieces to make sure that they were what we said they were.  Totally understood and of course I had no reason to believe that each piece didn’t have the providence that was told to us when we purchased the piece.  Wrong. 

We had purchased a piece from Newel Gallery in New York that was supposedly a Gio Ponte.  Not only did Wright Gallery say it wasn’t a Gio Ponte, so did Sotheby’s and someone else that I know.  Loved the piece and if it wasn’t for the fact that we were moving, I would have kept the piece for years never knowing it was not a Gio Ponte.  I didn’t care it wasn’t a Gio Ponte because we loved it but the price we paid for it was not right.

I contacted Newel Gallery and talked them.  At this point, Newel Gallery had exchanged hands and was purchased by Lewis Baer.  I told him of the problem.  We are talking about a considerable amount of cash.  We decided that we put the piece up for auction and see what market would bear.  He would then pay me the delta.

Unfortunately, the market was not interested in this piece and there were no offers yet we sold every other piece that we put up for auction.  Lewis, a man of his word, gave me the entire amount that we had bought the piece for 7 years ago.  Although he obviously inherited this problem, he did the right thing.  The reputation at Newell is the most important thing and he wants to stand behind his products.  Commendable is one word that comes to mind.  These days, not everybody does the right thing.  Lewis Baer did the right thing.  I would do business with Newell anytime.  I would send people there too.  He couldn’t have been more pleasant to deal with.  In a world where you wonder if anybody ever sticks to their word, Lewis put my faith back in the system of good business and more importantly, good people. 

BTW, Lewis writes a blog

Comments (Archived):

  1. ellen

    That is wonderful to hear, because in so many cases it is buyer beware no matter if it is a store or auction house.

    Skinner Auctions Inc. misattributes all the time and doesn’t care as long as they get their money. Eldred down in Cape Cod sold a duck decoy to a couple and when they divorced they found out the $35,000 decoy was a fake. It was buyer beware. They never returned the couple’s money.

    I bought something at Skinner and it was suppose to be a Victorian 14k gold picture frame. I brought it to the jeweler to have it buffed and found it to be gold plated. I was able to return it but it showed up in the catalog at tne next auction as 14k again and it was not.
    So good for you. In the Maine Antique Digest there is always one story per month about bad dealers during horrible things to very good customers.