Stories of Yore

What is common between one-of-a-kind weaves from Kashmir, a set of Mithila paintings from the '70s, 16th and 17th century maps of the Indian subcontinent and a range of limited-edition Montblanc writing implements? They all make for great collectibles. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons for them finding a place on Saffronart's website (www.saffronart.com). These items, however, are not up for auction, rather they fall under the newly launched section called "The Story by Saffronart". This is an initiative, launched earlier this month, where rare collectibles will be available for sale everyday for a few weeks each. The website will keep adding to the collection from time to time.

Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and co-founder of Saffronart, explains the idea behind this new category. He emphasises that the section will help a larger audience beyond its existing base of auction bidders have access to rare and significant objects. "Why consume something that is gone in a moment when you can collect something of lasting value? 'The Story' will offer people extraordinary objects from the past and present, backed by an unique insight into their stories," he says. Though the market for collectibles in our country is in its nascent stage, India has a rich culture and heritage that we can draw from, feels Nish Bhutani, Saffronart's chief operating officer. "The online shopping boom in India along with our personal experience with online auctions has encouraged us to launch this service," he states.

The product range is wide from art, jewellery, watches, stamps and coins to carpets and textiles, tribal objects, early-edition books, regional crafts, home accessories and film and sports memorabilia. Each piece in this section will be accompanied by notes on its historic, aesthetic and cultural value.

A few collections will be put together by well-known tastemakers such as Simran Lal of the luxury lifestyle store Good Earth, Rajeev Samant, founder of Sula Vineyards, Charu Sachdev of TSG International Marketing, Mumbai-based curator and art critic Girish Shahane and Aishwarya Pathy, co-founder of the India Design Forum.

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