Philosophy

What, one may ask, is Oily Rag? To us, Oily Rag means the gentle art of leaving well alone. Whatever it may be – a bike, a car, a house, a painting, a piece of furniture or clothing – it is only original once. To restore it, no matter how skilfully or accurately, is in our view to destroy the evidence of use that is a major part of the appeal of an antique or vintage object, as opposed to even a careful reproduction.

Are we alone in these beliefs? To judge from the prices fetched at auction by unrestored, well provenanced original antique furniture, pictures, rugs, clocks, pottery and almost anything else we can think of, the answer is no. Collectors in these fields have learned to appreciate the fact that, by favouring objects in untouched condition, they are protecting themselves against secret enhancement or fraudulent alteration as well as preserving a rare survival from the distant past with a particular history of human use and even misuse.

Our aim here is to document finds and discoveries in all fields of collecting which embody these ideals. Likewise, we shall not hesitate to draw attention to what we regard as acts of vintage vandalism. If you share our (possibly eccentric) tastes and preferences, or even if you don’t, your participation in this crusade is invited…