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Old 22nd November 2009, 10:52 PM   #32
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,956

I really like the way this discussion has developed.

It's not quite the way I thought it might run when I started the thread, and I am a little disappointed that more people have not let us hear their opinions, but the opinions that have been given I personally, value.


I'm sorry for my misunderstanding of your intent in respect of David's "nice keris" comment.

I understood David's comment in one way, you understood it in another.

It can be quite difficult to transfer meaning and intent clearly and concisely in writing, not infrequently we miss a message that in face to face conversation would be very clear. For this reason I feel that a few extra words at the outset can avoid the need for additional words later. I'd be the first to admit that I tend to overdo this approach a little, but it is much easier and faster to write than it is to think.

I believe it was Mark Twain who apologised to friend :- " I'm sorry for writing such a long letter, but I didn't have time to write a short one."

The points you have made have merit, but I do think that David and Rick have provided the answers that will address the concerns that some of us have in respect of misuse of this Forum.


Yes, you've identified the exact question that needs clarification:-

"The question basically is then what is the reason for the forums existence?"

I think that Rick and David have now provided this clarification, and its pretty much as I understand it myself.

But you have raised a question that I would like to comment on a little further, and that is the place of appraisal and valuation in this forum.

Appraisal has two meanings. It can mean to assess quality, or it can mean to assess value. In the case of an assessment of quality that is one of the reasons for the existence of this forum.

It is often a bit difficult to assess quality of a keris from photos, and speaking for myself, I often find that when I look at photos of a keris I am filling in details that are not clear from the photos , by reference to my knowledge of that type of keris or workmanship. This is a very defective way of giving an appraisal, but its the best we can do from photos, and I will usually add the caveat of " based upon what I think I can see in these photos".

But when we come to the assessment of value, the difficulties multiply many, many times.

Value is directly related to the price that is placed upon an object. It doesn't mean precisely the same thing as price, but when you get right down to it an appraisal of value is an answer to the question :-

"how much should I pay ( or ask) for this object?"

This answer depends upon a multitude of factors which can be split into specific segments, for example:- rareity, state of preservation, age, type, quality of workmanship, present geographical location, market bouyancy---etc, etc, etc.

In respect of a keris many of the factors within the segments relating to the physical qualities of a keris can only be adequately addressed if we have the keris in hand. An error made in assessment of age or origin of any component part of a keris could have a massive impact upon the value, and thus the price that can be reasonably paid for the keris. This might not matter much when we are talking about keris that are worth only a few hundred dollars, but when we start to look at higher level pieces an error in appraisal can result in a considerable loss to the seller (or buyer).

Geographic location of a keris is another important factor in affixing an estimate of a reasonable price.
Lets say I see an absolutely wonderful piece advertised by a UK dealer. As a collector I want that piece, and because of where it is I know that I cannot bargain for the same price as I would if I were in a street market in Indonesia. So I am prepared to pay what I consider to be a reasonable price from a UK dealer. This would be a totally unreasonable price in almost any other place on the planet, but because of where it is I need to adapt my standards, depending on how much I want it.

So if somebody asks how much something is worth, it really comes down to how much the buyer is prepared to pay, and that will vary according to circumstances, one of the circumstances being the location of the object.

As an extreme example of the application of this philosophy to collecting, I know one collector of keris and other weaponry who only buys from Ebay. He's got a massive collection. He uses sniping software and puts in an extremely low bid on everything that takes his fancy. Most of his bids fail, but when he wins he buys very, very cheap. I won't comment on the quality of his collection, but it is very, very big. And the thing is this:- this man has never paid a single penny more than he was prepared to pay for any item in his collection.

So, for me, appraisal of value, when that appraisal is based on photos, and most particularly when the appraisal is published for all the world to see is something that I simply would not do. It could damage my reputation immeasurably. But giving opinions to friends by private email is a completely different matter.

Rick :-

Re your proposals:-

1)--- agree

2)--- agree in principle, but I would prefer a longer wait period, perhaps 3 months

3)--- agree


I believe that your comments should have clarified any question as to the purpose of this Keris Warung Kopi, and I cannot disagree with anything that you have said.

I think we might be getting somewhere with this matter. Maybe it has already been settled, but before we set anything in concrete, could we wait a little while to give others who may have a point to make a chance to provide their opinions?
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