This guidance can apply to all types of collections, but has been customized specifically for Schneider collectors.
Strategize your approach. If you are serious and passionate about collecting, you should decide just exactly what it is you wish to collect. For Schneider glass, possible choices might be:
All glass signed Schneider; all cameo glass signed Le Verre Francais, Charder, or with a "candy cane"; only miniatures; only coupes; only exclusively art deco decor; only a certain color; a comprehensive collection of as many different varieties as possible; etc.
Compile information. Study your field. Be informed. Learn as much as you can from all sources: Written materials, dealers, collectors, museums, auctions.
Have fun. Take pleasure from your favorite pursuit, revel in new treasures; share your finds with others, actually the best way to appreciate your collection.
Note your inventory. For reasons of insurance, collection management, history, and scholarly documentation, keep a detailed record and photo of each piece. At the very least, it should note the dimensions, the artist, detailed description including signatures, provenance, condition and original cost.
Evaluate needs. Take stock of your collection and make a note, in order of priority, of what you think you need to enhance it, so that when a sudden opportunity presents itself, you are informed and ready to buy.
Immerse yourself in your subject area. Know your glass. Know about fakes, reproductions, and how to recognize them. Know what genuine signatures should look like, and where/when/how they were used. Touch and handle as many pieces as you can to get a feel for the glass and study the colors.
Decide how to present your collection. Having the pieces in your collection is one thing. Displaying them to their most dramatic advantage is quite another. Obviously, there is no one answer. It depends on the available space, your personal tastes, what pieces are involved, etc. You may wish to group them by type, size, or chronology; feature some, spot-light others, use elevating platforms for some, etc.
Enjoy your treasures. You paid for them. You must live with them. So buy what you like, but always buy the best you can afford. Condition is everything. It simply does not pay (except for very high-quality, unique pieces) to buy something that perhaps is less expensive, but is flawed.
ROI – Return On Investment. Ideally, collecting should be a pursuit of beauty to feed your soul, regardless of cost. Regrettably, for most collectors that is not possible. Money does play a role. Therefore, ultimately one must think of the initial cost and possible future resale. Realize that just because you love a given piece is no guarantee that its value will appreciate along with your growing fondness for it. Therefore, heed this advice: Always buy the best you can afford. High quality pieces may require a greater outlay of capital initially, but will also have a greater probability of retaining their value.
Rather than just an accumulation of objects, a collection should be a statement of not only the artist’s work, but should also reflect the collector’s sophisticated sense of style and aesthetics.
* * *
Copyright © 2003 by Thomas Karman All rights reserved.
Consultant for Schneider Art Glass