Ask yourself why and what you want to collect, every body has to decide for them self how and what they want to collect of course! I give only my opinion. I have the idea most collectors just collect out of a habit then really knowing why they buy number 15 of the same kind of statue...if you start you probably will start with what they call repeat statues that means from these statues are thousands made because of the tourist industry. Some other collectors will speak annoying or laugh about your new hobby, but what they forget is that some statues are also made by master carvers because even if there are thousands made in the beginning there was only one! Balinese want to make a living so the repeat what sells the best, the result is that there is also a lot of garbage carved by students, your job is to find the master carvings in this mess, look for many details and fine or complicated carvings, face and body expressions and expensive woods, and you have a valuable statue. Repeat statues are fishermen, men with chicken, legong barong and other dancers, in buste or full statue, dewi ratih and Kala rau, Rama and Sita, wedding couple bustes, wood panels with Ramayana story, Vishnu on Garuda, Nude or half nude girls, Barong Masks etc.
it seems Balinese Art Deco is highly collectible, and most of those collectors laugh about the collectors above without knowing they have other problems to face....Art Deco its not my thing because actually its a very simple carving for the skills of a Balinese carver, its like trowing paint to a wall in not more then a day and call it expensive art, or paint a Rembrandt what takes a year. Just like the paintings the more easy Art Deco statues go sometimes for much higher prices then the woodcarvings or the painting what took a year to make. What should worry me the most If you collect Art Deco is, Balinese are masters in copying wood carvings, who says a have a real art deco carving from 1930 and not from 2000...Art Deco collectors will probably disagree with me till they see similar Art Deco statue again and again offered on many websites...most collectors never did visit Bali like I did many times and they not have seen what Balinees artist are capable of. Same problem have the Keris collectors also a popular collectors item, I stay far from it even museum pieces are copied. What also not helps is that the woods for Art Deco where almost never hardwoods what makes it even more easy to copy, I say this because tropical hardwoods like ebony or coromandel wood are not available for carvings anymore its to expensive also. Collecting Art Deco from Bali is a nice interesting hobby because most collectors like the shapes more then Ramayana carvings or Hindu gods for example, but my message is value any statue on the used material and how good its made, it doesn't matter who made it, how old it is, or if its a repeat statue, Art Deco, or Ramayana statue.
Ramayana or Hindu God Statues
These are the Statues I collect, in general depending on the size, there are months or a year work in it what gives the statue a guaranteed value...also the old statues where almost always made of expensive hardwoods, so that is something to think about. Know your woods...even most collectors never thought of this, these days you don't find hardwoods like black ebony, rosewood or coromandel woods for carving in Bali anymore, so that means these statues are guaranteed old, and not only that, in 2017 these woods costs 60 till 70,- Euro a kilo! a statues of 170cm is around 70 kilo, and the carver has to chop of the wood so the original piece of wood was maybe 100 kilo, so the statues I collect have also a Irrefutable high value, beware of fake ebony, sandalwood etc statues, they exist already since the 80s. Balinese are masters in carving but also masters in faking woods. What's most interesting in collecting these statues is that they mostly tell a story, but to know what it means you need to know history, mudras, signs, and the Ramayana and Mahabharata story's, that's not easy...sometimes to understand a old statue you have to dig much deeper and the answer goes back more then 100 years ago, and that's why I did make this site for other collectors, I have a unbelievable collection with the oldest statue dating 1918-1920, and the knowhow of the story's behind the statues.
Thank you, Roland Smeets