I am constantly asked about value when purchasing antique ventriloquist figures about originality and this is one of my pet peeves in the antique world. Originality is everything. For an item, not just a ventriloquist figure, to be worth its highest resale potential, it must be all original. Once any part of a ventriloquist figure is either replaced, repainted, fixed, re wigged, changed eyes, replaced hands, replaced body, re carved or anything else you can think of to change the way it originally looked, you have devalued the item.
I also have said I have in fact restored ventriloquist figures if they deserve same. But you must be sure that the value of the figure out weighs the cost of the restoration.
Case in point a Frank Marshall ventriloquist figure, my favorite maker, is a figure that I will spend money on to restore because for the most part the figure is worth more that the cost of the restoration but if you were to do the same with a Turner figure the cost would be more than the value of the figure and that would be a losing proposition.
I have also said that a working professional ventriloquist must keep his figure in top notch shape so I must exclude them from this treatise. The problem this ventriloquist figure will face is when an heir finally gets it and then decides to sell the figure. Then the originality will come into play.
Just remember that in the world of collecting antiques being all original is what counts period!!
I once used a comparison of a Jaguar having a Chevy engine so I will use it again. It still looks like a Jaguar, drives like a jaguar, but has a different engine therefore is not worth what an all original Jaguar is worth.
I am sorry for those of you who have read an article like this from me before but some new folks over the past year have been asking me this type question again so I thought I would answer them here on the blog.
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