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Collecting Antique Baskets collecting.gif (2476 bytes)

Combing the shows, visiting every antiques store you pass, traipsing through flea markets and digging through dusty stacks at tag or estate sales are valid ways of collecting antique baskets. Recently because of the Internet those of us who quest after the elusive antique basket of our dreams have another option. Both information on the evaluation of an antique basket's qualities and the opportunity to buy old baskets is available from the comfort of our own home.

If you are not already well versed on how to evaluate the qualities of an old basket for style, technique and material the first thing you need to do is brush up your understanding by doing a little homework. Several articles which will provide assistance are available on the Internet. If you are seeking to better understand Native American splint baskets of New England read Nipmuc Splint Basketry or American Indian Baskets made in New England. If Nantucket Lightship Baskets happen to be your quarry read Nantucket Lightship Baskets. South West Indian baskets are widely collected and knowing their history and symbolism will be helpful before you consider collecting them. Other Native American basketry types are discussed in this article on Native American Basketry. The more you know about the history, design and construction techniques about a certain basketry form, the better able you will be to make purchasing decisions about individual baskets which you might consider collecting.

Additional information which can prove valuable is the understanding of the prices which are typical in the market at this time. Maine Antiques Digest offers a Prices Database to subscribers which is very helpful in this regard. Enter the word "basket" into their form and a list of items with pictures, descriptions and prices will be returned for you to study. This feature will probably return a different result each time you access it and it will bring up items which have "basket" somewhere in the description, but may not actually be a basket. The information on recent sales prices can be helpful in your recognition of whether a basket you are considering is a good value relative to the market as a whole. Robert S. Brunk Auction Services, Inc. of Asheville, NC maintains a searchable database of realized prices from their past auctions, many of which have featured baskets, predominantly from the southeast.

 Many auction houses publish full color catalogs that can be a great source of information on historic baskets. You can purchase rare individual copies of past auction catalogs such as Sotheby's, Skinner, Christie's, Bonhams and Butterfield from vendors like The Catalog Kid, The Auction Catalog Company LLC, and Auction Catalogs Online.

When you have decided that you have a solid enough background in the type of basket you seek to collect, you can get down to the actual collecting process.

Galleries and Antiques dealers have established a solid presence on the Internet. A selection of baskets are available from Jerry Weisberg Tribal Antiques, Turkey Mountain Traders, Indian Art Trading Store, North Coast Americana, Len Wood's Indian Territory Gallery - Antique Native American Baskets and Native American Traders offer native basketry of the American Southwest and California. 

Online auction services such as eBay are good sources of baskets new and old. Take a look at the Splint Baskets, Cherokee Baskets, Folkart Baskets or American Indian Baskets for example. There is always a good selection of baskets available, but watch out for misidentified baskets. There are great baskets at great prices, but like the saying goes, "sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince". Avoid anything described with the word "style" because you can be sure it is a reproduction or rip-off. If you are new to eBay you can sign up here. Register To Bid On eBay

As always, these sources are just the tip of the iceberg. If you have other resources both on and off the Internet that you find helpful for collecting antique baskets, but have not been mentioned here, Contact me and I will try to post them for everyone to see.

Collecting Antique Baskets at Auction

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