RULES FOR SANE - SENSIBLE COLLECTING
I have been collecting different types of items for years and have learned some lessons that I would like to pass on to those seriously interested in hard core acquisitions. You can take or leave this advice as it is my personal opinion on how to build a collection.
Accept the fact that you are not the only one interested or the item would not be a valuable collector's piece. One man's junk is another man's jewel. Don't take it personal when you lose.
Set your limit and stay with it. Be prepared to lose to someone willing to pay more. I have gotten so into the frenzy of bidding that I have spent more than I wanted and had to scramble to make the “margin call”. All you have is your reputation with Japanese vendor's and you don't want to ruin it by not paying in a timely fashion.
Don't be afraid to walk away from a deal you don't like. Japanese items are very expensive and that includes kimono and geisha items. A seller has the right to set the price just as a buyer can say no up to the moment the transaction is finished. At that point you will ruin your name by backing out. There will always be something in the future you may want even more than this one.
Document the item. Include not only the sale price but any fees ( shipping, transaction fees, currency conversion, taxes as Japan has consumption taxes for citizens and they will pass that on to you, and any other expenses ) photos, original vendor description, translation if possible. This will come in handy in
to find the true cost you paid when you may want to sell that item in the future.
The last 2 points will assist you in accessing the “going market rate” for a particular item. You may win something for Y 1 and end up paying Y 1,000 by time it arrives at your door. If you study the prices you paid along side prices others have paid you can have a realistic view of why a vendor sets a particular price and know when an item is just not worth it to you. Prices go up and down with collectables just like stocks, commodities, currency exchange rates, and the price of gold.
Study the items you are looking for so you don't end up being taken advantage of. I have bought many items that have been misrepresented some times in my favor other times to my detriment.
Learn the terms. In Japan there are different terms for the same item. A hikizuri is a susohiki for example. It is very helpful to learn romanji, kanji, and hiragana terms for the items you are looking for. This is even more so with hair ornaments. Seller's create a description based on what they think will sell. A misedashi set is similar to a bridal set and are made by the same craftsmen. Due to the “cultural concepts “ any group have on their own culture and the way they feel other people view them from outside that culture will result in an item description. None of us are real maiko / geisha so you will have to find items to make you feel satisfied. Many of my best buys have been found purely by accident. It's all in the description the seller lists that bring any given item up in an internet search. I have used the proper terms to locate items and draw a blank them I'm looking for something totally different and BANG, there is the item I drove myself crazy looking for. If you find a vendor with some items you like chances are there will be other pieces of interest too.
Nobody knows every thing including you. Other people have knowledge and can be helpful as well as hurtful. Even experts don't know everything and they can differ in opinion from other experts. It doesn't mean they are wrong as each person has their view of a situation and collecting is no different. There are also people who will give you bad advice on purpose so take every piece of information with a “grain of salt”. Take all the information you have, put it together and come to your own conclusion.
Adding to and completing an ensemble or getting the sister / twin of another piece can be a high like no other feeling just as losing an item can feel like you have been raped and left for dead. You will be much happier with your collection and get what you want to get if you follow these simple suggestions. HAPPY HUNTING