This is another in a continuation of columns offering assorted identification, authentication and collecting tips for sports and related memorabilia. These particular tips aren’t all-encompassing but intended to be simple and easy to remember.
Tip #1) Crazing, or ‘alligator skin,’ is strong evidence an oil painting is old.
Crazing happens over time when the paint and the backing it was applied to expand at different rates. With a fine, irregular pattern of tiny crack lines, some describe it as a dried out lake bed.
Tip #2) Unpolished solid silver has a dull finish, while silver plated items are shiny.
#3) As they were sold in protecting decks and often have rounded corners, antique playing cards are often found in much better condition that comparative other trading cards.
#4) That old musty smell is good evidence, if not definitive proof, that photo, magazine, print or other item is old. Even old cloth and leather items will often gain that old age musty smell.
#5) A ‘plate signed’ art print is not hand signed
Some art prints are ‘plate signed’ or ‘signed in the plate.’ This means that the artist’s signature was made into the printing plate and printed with the rest of the design. In other words a ‘plate signed’ Leroy Neiman print does not mean it was autographed (hand signed) by Dali. ‘Hand signed’ means it was signed by hand.
#6) To see if a tapestry is handmade check the stitches with a magnifying glass.
On a handmade tapestry the stitches are small and close together, but vary isn size. A machine made tapestry will have stitches that are uniform and even. A handmade tapestry is consistent with it being unique and antique. A machine made one made indicate it’s a modern made production.