In London, as everywhere else, the bricabrac hunter and collector of works of art must very carefully bear in mind this old maxim, caveat emptor. While among the London dealers in such goods there are many most respectable and trustworthy men, there are many of a quite different class; and, unfortunately, as a rule, the power of discriminating between them is only to be obtained by, possibly disastrous, experience. Let the buyer, to begin with, bear in mind that there are only three courses open to him, if he would buy with satisfaction to himself and credit to his collection. The first and simplest, as well as the rarest, is that he shall go to the market thoroughly understanding what he is about; the second, which is occasionally dangerous, is to trust to a well-informed friend; and the third is to know where to find a straightforward dealer in what he wants who will treat him well and openly. In the last case it is well not to pretend to any more knowledge than you may actually possess. The expert will infallibly find you out, and the temptation to take advantage of you will be immeasurably increased.
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