The staff of Patrick B. King &
Associates utilizes the latest technology in evaluating the scope and origin of
a loss. Let this firm examine the "damaged" item, our experience can
allow us to see the history of the piece, each staff member is trained in the
use of the proper equipment to allow us to test for damage such as elevated
moisture levels, elevated humidity and air quality, to only name a few.
For example, with a simple, non-destructive test we can determine if a textile
or rug has been contaminated by water or an Ammonia Nitrogen based fluid
(Ammonia Nitrogen is the destructive element in urine).
Recently an insurance company requested our assistance in providing our
opinion as to the value of two objects and the cost and feasibility of
The objects were claimed to be a pair of Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD220)
Chinese Pottery statues valued at $80,000. The claimant stated that prior
to shipping, the pair were in pristine condition with no flaws and they had been
irreparably damaged in transit.
Our initial unaided visual inspection of the “broken”objects clearly
indicated that the objects had actually only experienced failure at previous
glue lines, making their pre-incident condition poor at best.
This greatly diminishes their value, making the issue of potential loss
in value moot. The next step in our
examination was to place the fragments under long and short-wave Ultraviolet
illumination. This type of
examination highlights areas which may have been broken and repaired previously
with a bonding agent, because these areas will fluoresce under UV lighting. We
confirmed multiple areas of pre-incident damage which had been repaired with an
fragments photographed under Ultra Violet lighting shows areas of florescence
(white spots) due to pre-existing epoxy repairs.
The fragments were then photographed utilizing infrared and ultra-violet
film, which exposes any areas that have been in-painted.
Again, our use of technology confirmed our initial visual inspection that
the pottery statues had suffered extensive pre-incident in-painting.
We also believed that the in-painting and fragment repairs were of
recent vintage. To confirm this conclusion, we requested that a local lab sample
the surface of the statues and analyze the specimens. They found that extensive
in-painting was done with a pigment that was not even in production until
the 1920's, and the adhesive used where the glue lines had failed was an epoxy
not available until the 1950's. This proved our theory that the pair of Chinese
pottery statues were in poor condition prior to the glue line failures that occurred
in transit. Our research showed that a pair of Han Dynasty Pottery
statues, in comparable pre-incident condition, were only worth $200 - $300 per
pair, and in this case, the cost to conserve/restore these pieces would far out weigh
Photo 1: Epoxy
adhesive inside the statue. Arrows "C"= thin area, Arrow
"g"=thick region. ~16X magnification.
2: Thin flow of epoxy around a piece of ceramic.~16X magnification
can apply our testing and analysis to virtually any object whether it be a fine
antique, a marble floor, or simply a piece of contemporary artwork, call
us before settle those unsettling claims.
What we know to be true as a result of our 30 years of experience, we can prove to be true with the beauty of science.