Mask collecting for the rich

Here is an older mosquito mask from the Bungain people of East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. It was collected around 1930 when the Bungain were a stone-age culture isolated from the modern world. The mask was carved with stone, shells or bones, and colored with natural pigments. It is in good condition and there is documentation of its origin and subsequent owners. (That’s called provenance.)

It will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in NYC on May 15th… just five days from now. The suggested price range is $150,000-250,000. Don’t worry my friends, there will be some pieces selling for as little as $2,000-5,000. It must be great being in the upper one percent.

But most people can’t spend $2,000 for a mask or any other piece of ethnographic art. So they do a lot of research and spend a lot of time looking. They must build their collections without ever writing a check to a major auction house or gallery. Yes, it can be done.



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