I Bought it “Ratty” and Left It Alone

Not all dealers where happy with my championing of “Buy It Ratty and Leave It Alone.” I had recently been director of The Rhode Island Historical Society and curator of American decorative arts at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. When I lectured to Providence audiences I stressed the importance of condition, form, and surfaces, and before long a local dealer took me to task for diminishing the number of customers who had previously been happy to purchase refinished furniture. He changed his words, however, when he realized he could put an object with a good early surface directly into his showrooms, without the labor of cleaning off the paint, and charge more because it was “untouched.”

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Deanna is the founder of Inherited Values, among other sites. She is also an antique dealer.