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If you buy, sell, or collect antiques, collectibles, memorabilia, or fine
art, you should know about Robert Persky's book, Guide to Tax Benefits
for Collectors, Dealers & Investors
. This book, now in its third
edition, is essential reading if you have tax questions or concerns
relating to your stock or collection. It also covers all recent tax laws
and their consequences.
For example, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 places a 28% capital gains tax
on sales of on antiques and related items while placing only a 20% tax on
securities and real estate-- the feds have nicked us again. On the plus
side, however, the Act allows collectors to pass on collections worth
millions of dollars to their heirs tax-free by using a combination of
annual gifts under the annual exclusion and the unified credit against gift
and estate taxes (don't ask me what that means, folks-- I'm just telling
you what's in the book). For dealers, a business worth up to $1.3 million
may be bequeathed tax free under the new estate tax exclusion for family
businesses as long as certain conditions of the Internal Revenue Code are
met. If these aren't good enough reasons to invest $49.95 in The Guide
to Tax Benefits
, I don't know what are. Go for it!!
Guide to Tax Benefits For Collectors, Dealers & Investors, Third
by Robert Persky, The Consultant Press, NY, 1998, softbound,
256 pages, 8 1/2 by 11 inches, $49.95. Available from The Consultant Press, 163 Amsterdam Ave. #201, NY, NY 10023
or call 1-212-838-8640.
is a hefty two-volume set by Ralph Lerner and Judith Bresler
that provides comprehensive legal information for collectors, dealers,
investors, and artists. Not only does Art Law
explain complex legal
situations in language that average individuals can understand, but more
importantly, it offers dozens of time-saving, problem-solving forms that
can be readily adapted for use in business or personal transactions and
transfers. In so doing, you can minimize your legal exposure in typical
situations where disputes and disagreements tend to occur.
Anyone can benefit from reading this book. Appraisers can find out how to
adhere to professional appraisal standards in order to avoid lawsuits.
Auction houses can learn how to protect themselves from legal problems.
Dealers and collectors can discover how to structure foolproof consignment
agreements. Readers can also learn how to respond to situations where
forgery, theft, or misrepresentation are involved. And that's just for
starters-- artists' rights, artist/dealer relations, commercial aspects of
buying and selling art, tax and estate planning for art professionals, and
many more topics are extensively covered.
Apropos of nothing, let me throw in my 2 cents on the legal industry. Art Law
is just another reminder to think long and hard before
hiring attorneys if you have even the slightest chance of resolving
disputes on your own. Litigation under any circumstances is costly, time
consuming, divisive, acrimonious, complicated, expensive, and plenty of
other awful words that we're far better off living without. Let's make
every effort to resolve our disagreements lawyer-free the old-fashioned
way-- face to face and in a civilized manner.
Art Law: The Guide for Collectors, Investors, Dealers and Artists, 2nd
by Ralph Lerner and Judith Bresler, Practising Law Institute,
NY, 1998, 2 volumes, hardbound, dustjackets, 1677 pages, 6 1/2 by 9 1/2
inches, $145. Available from Practising Law Institute, 810 Seventh Ave., NY, NY 10019 or call 1-800-260-4754.
Collectors Press of Portland, Oregon has been focusing a good amount of
attention on American illustrator art. One of their more useful books is
the completely updated Maxfield Parrish Identification and Price
by Erwin Flacks. The guide prices hundreds of Parrish items
including prints, books, posters, calendars, magazine illustrations, and
memorabilia. Users of this guide should be aware that the price ranges listed are for items in mint condition. The variation in ranges has to do with regional market fluctuations rather than conditional differences. In other words, do not buy less than mint condition Parrish items at these price levels
unless they are extremely rare.
Collectors press also publishes books on American pin-up art from the early
part of this century through the 1940's. This art has been collected for
years, but little has been written about the major artists with perhaps the
exception of Alberto Vargas. A series of small-format books which the
company refers to as "vignettes" introduce the general public to some of
the most important names in pin-up art for the first time. They cost less
than $10 each and feature artists like Rolf Armstrong, Billy DeVorss, Gil
Elvgren Earl MacPherson, and Alberto Vargas. Knowing what good pin-up art
looks like is important because superior examples are valuable and highly
The Maxfield Parrish Identification and Price Guide
by Erwin Flacks,
Collectors Press, Portland, 1995, softbound, 272 pages, 6 by 9 inches,
Rolf Armstrong, The Dream Girls
by Ben Stevens, Collectors Press, Portland, 1997, softbound, 64 pages, 4 3/8 by 5 1/2 inches, $8.95. To order either book, call 1-800-423-1848. You can also request a complete catalogue
of Collectors Press current selections.
Painting by Numbers
documents the results of the first ever
comprehensive scientific poll of American tastes in art. Vitaly Komar and
Alexander Melamid conceived and executed the idea which eventually
encompassed samplings of two billion people in ten countries around the
world. The book primarily focuses on the 1,001 Americans surveyed and goes
into quite some detail regarding what we want to see and not see in our
art. For example, we don't like small, dark, abstract paintings. We do
like paintings with realistic subject matters the size of dishwasher fronts
showing outdoor scenes with bodies of water and wild animals in their
The book is both serious in its reporting of the survey results and
humorous in that Komar and Melamid actually paint sample pictures
consisting of either the most or least wanted characteristics for each
country surveyed. These artistic opposites face off directly across from
one another in a country-by-country format. Meanwhile, a continuous thread
of responses to the question, "If you had unlimited resources and could
commission your favorite artist to paint anything you wanted, what would it
be?" runs along the bottom of each page from the book's beginning to its
end. For those of you who love reading statistics (snore), sixty pages of
tables list every last mind-numbing number produced by the survey
(apparently the publishers thought the book wasn't thick enough to go to
press without this feature).
Painting by Numbers
is at the same time fascinating and disquieting
as it lays out in no uncertain terms what average Americans have to say
about art. Types of people who should read this book: artists in search
of popular acclaim, art dealers in search of commercial success, artists
who wonder why no one appreciates their work, anyone who believes that the
masses will ever understand the fine points of fine art, everyone in the
art world who takes themselves too seriously.
Painting by Numbers: Komar and Melamid's Scientific Guide to Art
Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, 1997,
hardbound, dustjacket, 205 pages, 11 by 8 3/4 inches, $50. Available at bookstores.