Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bakelite Testing Redux: Primum non nocere aka: First, Not To Harm!

Good Saturday Morning to all!

This morning I was listing a few small Bakelite items in my booth "stuff" on Bonanzle

There are a lot of people who consider me to be quite the expert on the subject of Bakelite. I do know more than many but I'm certainly not on the same level as some true experts. I've simply got a lot of experience - good and bad - in having learned how to tell what is and what is not Bakelite. It's been well over 25 years since I bought my first piece of Bakelite. Once I got hold of my first pieces, I was hooked.

During my foray on the net this morning looking around for one of those very clever lists of cutesy names that we love to employ in our descriptions of vintage Bakelite colors, I discovered, quite to my chagrin, that there are an awful lot of blogs, personal and purportedly professional web pages and discussions in various forums that are dispersing a whole lot of downright mis-information on this subject.

The thing to remember whenever you are going about research as to what material you have, always remember: Primum non nocere or First, Not to Harm.

That alone - if you will only take the tiniest bit of responsibility for your actions and stop to think for even a moment - should translate quite readily into this:

Do not ever under any circumstances do a Hot Pin Test on any item for any reason.


I will elaborate just a tiny bit more: If you think you are very stealth and it does not matter, that you did it on the inside "where no one can see when it's being worn", try to sell it to a serious and knowledgeable Bakelite collector without disclosing it.

When they discover that you sold them a piece of jewelry that has had the dreadful Hot Pin Test done on it, you should expect to be forced to accept a return, give a refund and never have the privilege of doing business with that collector again.

It is a huge deal with collectors. I know none who will buy pieces with HPT marks unless they are priced at about 5¢ on the dollar of their value and it's one they are really desperate to have in their collection - and even then, they will do so with great trepidation.

Very important to understand: That HPT mark devalues the item as much as 90% when it's done and it can never be undone.

Some other points I would like to make to you if you are a relatively new Bakelite collector:

If you are not really an expert, do not buy from anyone who does not offer you a 100% money-back guarantee that they are selling you authentic Vintage Bakelite. If you buy something you think might be Bakelite, contact me if you can't figure it out. I'll be glad to help you try to learn how to make an honest evaluation.

Making purchases from a reputable seller is essential for investment quality items such as better vintage Bakelite items.

We'll talk more later on about some of the things to avoid when shopping for items to add to your Bakelite collection!

And always remember to stop and think before you buy. Learn how to accept personal responsibility for your purchases if you are in too big a hurry to read a description. Ask questions. Read books, talk to other people. Verify your "facts" before accepting them. Keep asking questions if you are not sure.

Just because you read it on the internet does not necessarily make it right. But, please: trust me on this one - the hot pin test is a really bad one. That's a fact!

Newly listed Bakelite at Stuff on Bonanzle:

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