There always seems to be stories popping up about members of the public who have been swindled out of their money when buying some ancient coin or ancient Egyptian artifact, thinking that it was real when in fact it was all a fraud, and this can make people lose their appetite to collect such things. We pent some time at the Sadigh gallery in New York last week and whilst chatting to the curator I asked him how people could avoid getting scammed, and here are the tips which he offered.
If it Doesn’t Smell Right
There are no guarantees that you can avoid buying a fake piece but there are ways in which you can minimize the probability of it happening to you. Simon from the Sadigh gallery often uses the rule of thumb that if it doesn’t smell right, it is far better to turn your back and walk away, rather than risking the purchase of a fraudulent item. In doing this you may miss out on the odd original piece which will be a bummer, but at least you will be greatly reducing your chances of getting scammed.
The only times that you should buy online is if it is from a respected and trustworthy seller, known in the art world, if you are only spending a small amount of money, or if you are buying it from someone who you have bought quality pieces from before. The internet is a great place for scamming people especially when it comes to smaller items like coins or ancient Egyptian artifacts. The problem is that there is little accountability online which is why it is such a hotbed for fraudulent activity. The only other type that you should considering buying online is if you are able to go and see the piece before you buy.
The best way to avoid being scammed is by having too much knowledge to allow it to happen. Let’s say for instance that you are looking to buy a coin from the time of ancient Egypt, if you already know exactly what you are looking for when it comes to the design, the material, the blemishes and the hallmarks, then you are unlikely to be scammed. Scammers aren’t trying to sell to people who have knowledge because they know that they will be found out, it is the people without knowledge who they are trying to make money from. Do your homework, read as many resources as possible and make sure that you know exactly what art and design you are buying before you pay for anything at all.
As we have mentioned there is no way to ever truly guarantee that you won’t be scammed, especially as the copies and replicas which are being designed these days are incredibly accurate. With this being said however if you are smart and you follow these tips, you can certainly minimize the risk.