Claudine, I think you have a very good point here: "I think there's
a necessary learning curve involved in any collecting activity",
one does learn from one's mistakes.
Although a "noob", I grew up in a world of antiques because of the job
of my dad, and only by meeting a fake will you learn to find something
that is true (be it people or musical instruments), and at times it may
take years before you can be pretty sure it is 100% genuine.
Then again, remember the Rembrandt painting, "The Man with the Golden
Helmet", for years thought an original by experts, and now banished
to the basements of the museum as experts have now declared it "not
For the novice, who has no idea and no one to ask for advise, I think
the rule to apply is "How much do I like it without knowing if it is an
original, and how much am I willing to pay for it as is?" It's the
rule I apply to all my buys. Sometimes I am very lucky (I bought for
$10 an Art Deco statue, sold it a year later for $1200), sometimes
I get bit in the nose (I bought a vase at an antique market and only
when I came home and studied it in daylight did I discover I was had
by a very good fake: loss $200), but that's life.
And, as you say, "if it looks too good to be true, it isn't!" Except
when applied to Sacher-Torte!
Ren - Renaissance Le Corbeau