I have spoke about this subject before but in the past few days I have been contacted by some folks, not ventriloquists, that wanted to know about restoring their figures and if it was going to be worth the cost. I wanted to be as helpful as I could but sometimes reality of the situation prevails.
When a ventriloquist figure, either wood or paper mache, is left unattended for decades in a basement or cellar there is always the possibility of water damage.
Even if you think it is dry most of the time there is no heat or insulation and water vapor does get inside. Over long periods of time the moisture reeks havoc on these materials and and the paint peels off, leather crumbles, wood separates and what you end up with is a pile of parts.
I received pictures from there folks and their figures were in just such a state as described. They wanted to know if they restored the figures would it bring back the value and could they re coupe or even make the figures more valuable. Unfortunately in these cases as in most the answer is no. The cost to do repairs on this type a figure just would not re coupe the reward. I hate telling them this bad news but it is sooo true.
In the antique world you just can’t make something worth more by fixing it over. You can find examples of this in every field of antiques not just ventriloquist figures.
So to sum up if you are fixing a partner that you are using to earn a living doing ventriloquism then of course you fix him and make him look the best you can all the time but if you are looking at antique or collectible the value is in originality. I have said it before and will say it again originality brings the money.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2012 by Dan Willinger
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