When to Buy?

by George Wells

With the most discreet nonchalance you can muster, you glance at the price tag. After you perform a bit of mental arithmetic, your blood begins its inevitable rush toward your feet. The piece is no steal. In fact, we’re talking mortgage money here. And yet, in all of your years of collecting, this is the first one you’ve ever seen. So you turn to your mate, only to see that pillar of courage recoiling in fear of what has just possessed you. As the room darkens perceptibly, you hear your sweet love babble something about “Are you out of your mind?” or “It’s YOUR money” and for the moment, the joy of collecting escapes you. What are you to do?

If this doesn’t sound familiar, you’re either very well-healed or your central nervous system is a bit off its game. If, on the other hand, you come here often, perhaps a touch of philosophy will help. All you really need in order to make the correct decision every time is the ability to distinguish between three pairs of related terms: collecting versus dealing, possible versus impossible, and lust versus love.

If you collect, you can afford to pay amounts which are prohibitive to dealers, because dealers are not buying the years of enjoyment that owning the piece will bring you. (As a dealer, your only consideration is the likelihood of a quick and profitable resale. Period.)

Now that we have established that, as a collector, it’s OK for you to pay dearly on occasion, can you swing this deal? Of course! Although some of us should do some serious soul-searching before coughing up $20,000 for a foot bath, most of us could find that kind of dough if our child was kidnapped. Nothing is impossible.

It all really boils down to a question of love. When we talk about loving dishes, maybe we should think about getting professional help, and maybe not. I am convinced that what often begins as lust (for pretty and shiny things) can grow into a much stronger emotional relationship. The psyche of Flow Blue and Mulberry collectors is demonstrably and beneficially influenced by the coveted hollow-ware to an extent unexplainable in terms of simple lust. Think of a favorite piece in your collection, and remember that exquisite moment of initial contact, that blossoming of love at first sight. And think of all the times you’ve re-examined the piece, searching for chips, hidden repairs or other signs of infidelity.

To some of us, prized possessions are extremely important. They represent in certain material ways “who” we are, or they constitute a significant element in the tapestry of environment we surround ourselves with. If a piece belongs in this tapestry, you should be able to recognize it as such and, barring any significant probability of soon finding a similar piece more reasonably priced, you should buy it. Consummate the relationship!

Ten years from now, if you don’t buy this piece, will you regret it? The answer to this question will guide you right every time!