1795. “It is unnecessary for a person to know anything about art or art history to instantly appreciate the significance of the workmanship of the back of a real old icon. I swear even a junkman would see it!” Then, after a long pause he added, “Especially a junkman, even a garbage man would see it… especially a garbage man!”
1796. This was the experience that established the attitude toward collecting that Proctor Cronk adopted for his own. He purchased one of the old icons from the Yardman, and then for another fifty dollars he purchased the newer icon that had been sandblasted and rubbed down with grease. Although he completely agreed with the Yardman about the superior quality of the old painting, still, even from the first day, he preferred the newer one.
1797. Later he sold the old icon for fifteen hundred dollars, but nothing would induce him to part with the sandblasted painting.
1799. Many years later, when he was an established collector with a reputation for his trained eye, he repeated this experience almost in detail when he purchased the Coromo paintings from Aldo Corelli. Neither Aldo nor Proctor knew that the pictured had been ‘antiqued,’ which the process is sometimes called.