Determining an item’s authenticity and provenance– it’s like pinning a murder case. In the world of art discovery, it is critical that you stack the evidence in a compelling way. This is where Anton Bogdanov steps in. Our very own Sherlock Holmes, Anton plays a diverse, constantly changing role at EBTH. Anton does much of EBTH’s critical authentication work on high-value items. He proves these items innocent or guilty– authentic or fake. He is a skeptic by nature. He is innately drawn to investigative research. Fortunately for us, Anton’s skepticism is a crucial trait for someone of his role.
Anton Bogdanov has always been passionate about discovering the stories behind unique items. Working with a number of institutions, he has developed strong experience transcribing documents, diary entries, and currencies. He is a member of the American Numismatic Association, which is comprised of coin experts, dealers and hobbyists. Additionally, Anton belongs to The Organization of American Historians and has volunteered on a number of The Smithsonian Institution Archives’ projects.
Before coming to Everything But The House, Anton, among many other things, worked as an antiques dealer, studied the methodology of counterfeiting, worked as an independent procurement agent (representing buyers and sellers at auctions), and performed freelance appraisal and advisory work for local institutions, museums, and auctioneers. He is also fluent in all forms of search engines and internet archives– Chinese, Russian, etc.– a necessary research skill in authenticating goods.
After developing a thorough background, Anton decided he wanted to fully commit his time to a company that could fully utilize his experience and passion for working with a variety of “things.”
Today, Anton works as a Senior Specialist and Content Editor. He is certainly a “specialist”, which, in the auction industry, means he leads the research, appraisal, and conservation efforts for many items in the EBTH catalogue. He also determines items’ trail of sale history by reaching out to third party contacts (i.e. scholars, institutions, governmental organizations such as the FBI or Interpol, and foundations that study particular artists). Additionally, Anton works closely with private firms that keep databases of all known stolen artwork to ensure that the items we sell are not stolen goods. He does all of this research, in part, so he can verify the authenticity of our high-value works. More importantly, however, Anton does his research to give our clients peace of mind– ensuring that each item is not only one of a kind, but is also something of great value. He digs deep enough to uncover information which, in many cases, is only privy to a handful of people in the world. Once all is squared away, Anton drafts a report, and that report is what we use to build part of our vast catalogue.
When determining an item’s origin and authenticity, Anton gathers info on medium, style, and era. He looks at markings, signatures, dates, inscriptions, and labels on works of art. He gathers outside sources to aid in his research. When he’s not on the phone tracking down leads, Anton’s head is stuffed in scholarly texts, notebooks, and catalogues. When possible, he stages informational interviews with estate owners. He sometimes even needs to send work out for lab analysis. He uses diagnostic technology and sampling techniques for jewelry, artwork, and coins. These processes– infrared photography, ultrasound and electrical resistivity assay, and XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) Spectrometry– give us a breakdown of every element of the item we are testing. For example, he sends coins to the lab to test their metal compositions. “If we know a certain chemical element or pigment should be present in an object of a given era, XRF analysis will help build our case.”
He may make determining an item’s origin look easy, but the process is beyond complex. “It’s so important to cross-reference,” says Anton. “In this business, getting scholarly consensus from many different sources is very key.”
Anton Bogdanov knows exactly how to pull the thread. When he steps in, everything unravels, and an item’s true value is discovered. He is an invaluable member of the EBTH team.