Chapter 1: The Saint, 1426 – 2012. The Saint’s origins; its maker Claus de Werve and its early history; disappearance in Revolutionary France; a reconstructed story of how it came to Scotland and ended up in an auction room in Leith.
Chapter 2: The Myth of Provenance. Why provenance might or might not matter; issues of ownership and problems surrounding stolen or looted art; saleroom etiquette; the benefits of bidder anonymity; discovering the Saint’s provenance.
Chapter 3: The Jug 1926 – 2007. Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew and their relationship; a description of The Jug; lack of provenance for The Jug and how objects become detached from their identities.
Chapter 4: The Buzz. A typical auction viewing and some of the objects viewed; the discovery of an early Scottish bible; definition and analysis of “The Buzz”; three examples of objects bought where the Buzz resulted in doubt and disappointment.
Chapter 5: Buying and Selling The Jug, 2007. Credentials for buying The Jug; viewing and spotting The Jug; pre-sale research; bidding for and buying The Jug; post-purchase research; consignment and re-sale at Bonham’s.
Chapter 6: The Eye. An analysis of whether there is such a thing as “an eye for an antique”; three autobiographical vignettes exploring aspects of the author’s Eye; an attempt to provide a definition.
Chapter 7: Buying The Saint, 2012. Spotting The Saint at an auction viewing; pre-sale research when you don’t know where to start; buying The Saint; tentative steps towards identification; seeking the views of experts; progress and an emotional breakthrough.
Chapter 8: Collector or dealer? An exploration of whether the author should be categorised as a collector or a dealer; some alternative behavioural explanations: the hoarder, the connoisseur, the dilettante.
Chapter 9: Consigning The Saint, 2012 – 2013. A journal of events in the weeks between identification of The Saint and consignment for re-sale in Paris; the excitement of authentication; concerns and worries about re-sale.
Chapter 10: The Norm. A methodology for measuring normal behaviour; the imaginary Reacher-Collyer Hoarding Scale to measure non-acquisitive versus hoarding behaviour; the imaginary Goldbrick-PennyRed Collecting Scale to measure investment versus collecting behaviour; calibrating the author on the two scales.
Chapter 11: Selling The Saint, 2013. The history of the Drouot organisation and the complex French auction system; the auction of The Saint in Paris; interruption: The Big Red Vase; the fall of the hammer.
Chapter 12: The Aesthete. An attempt to analyse the aesthetic response to antiques and works of art; an example of a strong response to a specific object; deciding which objects to keep and which to sell; reasons and justifications for selling The Jug and The Saint.
Chapter 13: Value. How an object accumulates value or fails to do so; examples from the author’s collection; a comparison of two rare 17th century psalters.
Chapter 14: Qualms. Moral and ethical issues and uncertainties; discomforts engendered by bagging a bargain; charity shops and charitable giving; sale to public or private collections; philanthropy; collective ownership of art objects.
Chapter 15: Afterwards. How to deal with an unexpected profit; VAT, taxation and frustration; what to say to interested bystanders; handling anti-climax and returning to a kind of normality.