One of the most important aspects to any novel is its tone.
German pottery, a really good piece, and a less than good piece? How do I figure the comparative value? Those are tough questions in any collecting field, but they're especially tough in WGP because the variety is so extreme, and many of the pieces are quite unlike what most collectors are used to seeing. Sure, beautiful and ugly are both in the eye of the beholder, but it behooves the beholder to train that eye before trusting its judgment.
Like most collectors, I started out as a magpie, grabbing anything bright and shiney and taking it home. That method is lots of fun and means frequent gratification, but it fills the nest rather quickly, and you soon find that too many parts of the collection no longer seem worth the effort it takes to dust them. The thing about "Magpie Collectibles" is that their power doesn't last. If you really spend time with them, the impression starts to fade.
That's usually a matter of detail. The line and proportion of the form are off just enough so they may catch the eye but don't really hold the eye. The colors may be striking, but the hue and relationships of colors are simply unusual, not really successful. The decoration may be neat in design but sloppy in execution. The thing is that most people have to buy those Magpies and actually take time to look at them, hold them, think about them, get to know them.
If the piece is a little better, you may be able to strike up a pretty good friendship, one that lasts fairly well, even if it doesn't mean you like spending all your time together. These "Acquaintance Collectibles" are like the friend you're happy to bump into, but you don't go out of your way to arrange time together. Over time, you may well like them just as much as before, but they don't grow on you. The depth just isn't there.
Then, there are those items that you realize you like more now than you did the first day you saw it on the shelf in the shop. You may even remember that you didn't like it all that much at first, but over time you appreciated how the curve of the handle made you smile, how the line of decoration and colors made you smile even on a bad day. The more time you spend, the more you notice finer points and details. At the very least, you're committed enough to call these "Engagement Collectibles". Sometimes, it may be a "Marriage". In many ways, you're looking for the same qualities in the relationship, things that make it not only possible but usually enjoyable to spend time together daily year after year....then wake up one day and realize you still managed to learn something new.
While I consider aesthetics the most important issue in value, the market doesn't always (almost never) work quite that way. There are also matters of availablity and desirability. Many of the average items are easily available in Germany, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia, even if specific form/glaze/size combinations can still be tricky to find. Availablity has only increased in the last year or so in the US as more dealers begin to stock the items. Even among these dealers, including the higher end, most items available are of average quality since both dealers and collectors remain short on information.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that eBay is a clear window into the antiques/collectibles market simply because it's the largest venue, but all venues have distortions. Over a given week, some items (such as Ruscha 313 or Carstens "Ankara") seem to show up in large numbers, but in another week few if any are available.
After not seeing an "Ankara" listed for weeks, I bought three or four from different sellers over a 10 day period. Even after following the market for years, it's not clear what the potential availability is on some items or variations. It's fair to say that most Scheurich shapes are rather easily found, but some of the glaze/size combinations can be elusive.
For now, collectors need to follow the basic guide that more complex/difficult items are likely to have been made in smaller numbers. It's also likely that items such as the larger plaques by Ruscha have probably suffered more breakage just because they are open to being easily snapped by the wrong leverage (especially when being moved or shipped).
To some degree, the desirability is influenced by both aesthetics and availability (or perceived availability), but publicity can have a powerful effect as well, good or bad. This can cause distortions in the market that not only make a given item look "better" but may make items appear "worse" if they don't get equal publicity.
That can create small blips with particular lines (see the Roth discussion in the right hand column), or it can cause a stir throughout a company. Some collectors can probably remember what Blenko prices were like in the early 90s compared to the late 90s and a bit onward. I'm WV bred and love Blenko, but I'm not convinced that some of the designs deserved quite that much attention (though some certainly did and do).
The West German pottery field is so large that it's dimensions have only been determined in terms of time so far. Even fairly experienced collectors have yet to realize how big the range seems to be, so those about to come into the field can get ready for a real shock, especially the first time you see a large collection in person.
That also means there's likely to be numerous waves of publicity that affect the market. There was a "Bodo Mans" wave for his Bay Keramik designs even before most people knew W.
The tone of Invisible Man is, for the most part, a remarkable thing.
The tones transition by the use of diction and detail.
This is a very limited audience, indeed, and if we aim our essay at that one individual, we have severely limited its appeal. We would be much better off if we could conceive of our essays as being aimed toward a community of readers, the readership, say, of a small-town or neighborhood newspaper. These readers are interested in what we have to say curious, in fact but they're easily distracted; they expect demand, even something that is fresh, honest, imaginative, energetic, without being too zany or offbeat. We don't know exactly who is going to pick up this newspaper, so we need to be on our best behavior; our tone must aim toward being friendly and helpful without being overly casual (and never slangy); if we can maintain this tone of slight formality without being stuffy, we've hit it just right.
Types of tones in essays | Sales Architects
Each of the introductions below presents the same thesis statement: "Identity theft is a serious problem that claims millions of innocent victims, and the government must implement better regulations to help put an end to this crime." While the thesis statement is the same for all of the introductions, notice how the various introductions set different tones for the essay and establish slightly different expectations for what will follow in the body of the essay.