Buying Chinese Imperial Porcelain
Chinese Fakes Flood The World, including Ebay
Finding out you've bought fakes can be very discouraging if you're trying to start a collection and you're filling it with reproductions from Jhingdezhen or Chaozhou basing your decisions on how much they look like the one in an old Christies catalog or a picture from some reference book, especially ones written prior to 1985. The terms and characteristics used in those books for authenticating Chinese Art have been copied almost perfectly by the pros in China.
|Fake Youngzheng |
Mark and Period Bowl
How good are they? Well here are a few of the more common MODERN copies of 18th C. pieces, both are marked Yongzheng Period (1723-1735).
The blue and white bowl at a glace is pretty good looking to the average buyer equipped with a modest amount of experience, the fact that its coming from a seller in China is the first big tip off. Dealers in China DO not sell Mark and Period Chinese Bowls on Ebay...
Mark and Period Bowl Base
Its not Ebay's fault really, after all how do they hire enough people to vet the site along with the hundreds they already have holding back the onslaught of other reproductions of Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Feregamo and dozens more. These take precedent as not doing something about it will result in lawsuits over Copyright Infringement..and no one wants to get sued.
Mark and Period Bowl
So the question becomes can you buy with any certainty an object on Ebay's Asian antiques site that is Antique?
The answer is yes you can, but its not easy. On Ebay their are a variety of very good dealers located in the United States, the UK, France and the Netherlands around maybe 50 all together. Many of them have things for sale all the time, and others prepare one or two significant listings a month with a few dozen good things. So you have to keep an eye on them regularly.
Overall they are your best bet for getting real Asian antiques. In addition they are also a good source for building direct relationships with for buying items not on Ebay. After all, most of the material placed on the site is not of the premium quality material better suited for the higher end of the market. That said, some of it is quite excellent and way above what you're going to see searching local antique shops on weekends.
Finding these better dealers is of course the trick. One way to do it is through Bidamount.com. Its a site we built with searches written to exclude most of the less favorable sellers and focuses on the ones we know tend to have the better items. Some are dealers we know, others are ones we don't know personally, but have over the years done business with and some are folks who consistently have good offerings. On the right side of each page in Bidamount.com are a series of category's that expand drop down search menus. Simply click on one, a new window will pop open on Ebay itself. Scroll around down through it and have fun, if you do not see anything that strikes your fancy, close it and click the next search and so on...from there you can "Add To Watch List"the way you normally would an item right into your own account
You can of course create your own searches on Ebay itself if you want to spend the time doing it, but you will still have the prospect of having to remove those who seem a bit suspect.
If you want to see what a real VETTED seller search on EBAY looks like after getting rid of the FAKES, give it a try....the site was built and developed in Partnership with eBay and is owned by Peter Combs, an Asian Art dealer for more than 35 years.
Try it, you'll like it.
Explore the site while you're there, you might just be supervised.
Basic Rules for Safe Buying on Ebay of Asian Art:
- If the piece has an Imperial mark or any reign mark predating 1850, be immediately VERY suspicious. Go and look at the seller's other listings, does he/she also have many more pieces with early marks? If so be MORE nervous? Is the writing of the listing very odd grammatically? i.e. "We have fine many things in collectible for your condition" or "We are honored to have many new friends for buying Chinese Culture"..If you read anything like this run for your life.
- More and more Fakes are being sold by people listing them in the USA but are in fact IN China. One indicator is the shipping rates, they are much higher if they are being sent form Shanghai, the expected shipping time is also not a few days, its 10 days to 3 weeks. RUN for your life.
- Sellers in Japan, are the most part fine and in fact many are quite excellent.
- Sellers in Taiwan are just as dangerous to your financial health as Mainland China.
- Back Check the listing, copy the title and description before bidding and go to the Christies Asian Department at Christies.com , this will bring you to the Auction results page for Asian art only. make sure the Calender is set to display from 2004 or 2002 up to today. Then paste into the search bar your description. After a bit you will see what pieces similar to the one you're looking at have brought. If the one on Ebay is $1,500 and the one on Christies brought $100,000 to $4,000,000 ..well you already know what it means I hope. No it doesn't mean you've made a discovery...
Have fun just the same, try Bidamount.com , use your head and ask lots of questions before committing money and BUY some Good Books on the topic....go to museums and absorb.
Feel free to email or call with any questions about your own Bamboo Carvings, Chinese Silks, Porcelains or Jades or their values.
Thank you for visiting ~ Peter Combs
Gloucester, MA 978-283-3524