Do you do appraisals?
Yes. You can start the process by sending me a single photo or a small group photo of masks. I will answer promptly with what I can do and the cost. Often this is in two stages: first, a general evaluation done quickly at low cost, and then–if desired and within my capability– a more detailed report.
Can I get a free appraisal?
No. But I will answer questions about the identity of a particular mask you want to know more about. See “Ask the Mask Man.”
From where do you get these masks?
The internet, estate sales, flea markets, etc. We rarely buy from runners or dealers, nor do we take trips to distant lands. You could call me a “picker.”
May I order something special?
No. We never know when or what we will come up with. If you are on our mailing list we will periodically email you a list of recent additions.
What about authenticity?
Some of our masks are authentic and some are made for the tourist trade. We do not sell either unless they are well made. The description should make this clear. If not, just ask us and we will give you our honest opinion.
What about provenance?
Since most of our sources know little about what they are selling, we must make educated guesses about background. That is one of the reasons we can charge so little. Masks with provenance sell for much more than those from Masks of the World. We can usually tell if something is authentic or not.
Why do you have ANY tourist masks?
Authentic masks can be rare and prohibitively expensive. If an indigenous carver makes some extras for sale, it can be a good deal for the collector. Also, some carvers are more imaginative in their creation of masks for the market. Most of the time we avoid fakes– like masks that have been artificially treated to look old and used.. An exception might be a beautiful West African fake that, if real, would sell for many thousands of dollars.
Why do you archive those sold masks?
We want to make sure there is plenty of variety for our non-buying visitors to see. A surprising number of students visit us for research purposes.
Who should use MasksoftheWorld.com?
For generalists (collectors interested in many different cultures) we are indispensable. Specialist interested in a specific culture or region are often pleasantly surprised by some of the fine, authentic masks we are able to find. Plus people who just want something unique unique to wear to a costume party… or to hang on the office wall.
Will you ship anywhere?
Yes. Contact us for a shipping estimate. We do not try to make money on shipping. You are charged for postage and insurance only.
How do you pack a mask?
1) Ball up some newspaper into the rear of the mask.
2) Enclose it all in bubble wrap.
3) Place the wrapped mask in a corrugated box that is at least 5cm larger on all 6 sides. Never use a box that is too small!
4) Pack the box with foam peanuts or some other soft material, making sure this material completely surrounds the item.
Is there any guarantee?
We want all of our customers to be satisfied. If you wish to return a mask for a refund, please let us know within a week and we will do so.
Are masks a good investment?
Tribal art has continued to grow in value. As with most other fine art and antiques, the higher quality items tend to do much better than decorative masks. Our overhead is the same on all masks which makes the high quality masks a better deal in the first place.
How do you price your masks?
Age, authenticity, condition, size, rarity, design and craftsmanship can all be a factor. What I paid for it and my overhead are important as well. Since I don’t travel abroad and work out of my home, my costs are low and I can pass the savings along to my customers.