So, given the dense ignorance that pervades the collecting world AND that "cute" and "pretty" have become collectors' yardsticks, where does that leave the state of collecting? Sad to say, I firmly believe that if John Howard, our leading Staffordshire figure dealer, were to place a reproduction recently-made-in-Asia Wombwell's menagerie on his site, someone deeming it "cute" would buy it at a hefty price. In fact, I suspect that collectors of that sort would grab the reproduction menagerie over the Real Thing with a visible chip or two!
American collectors to a large extent drive the market for collecting early figures, and most American collectors, sadly, insist on their figures looking perfect. There is little tolerance for imperfection, little concern about the amount of restoration, just a relentless determination to fill shelves with pretty objects. I have seen several collections in the UK as well as one or two in the US where the figures have been bought without too much concern for their condition. A certain honesty pervades those collections, and I hope that the underglaze Jewish peddler, with his sedate colors and his damaged hand, finds an appreciative home with a true collector.
P.S. I apologize for the lapse in updating this blog, but there are over nine years of old entries that you can browse. In future, I will update at least once a month, always by the second Tuesday of the month.