Thursday, May 30, 2013

$400,000,000 in Porcelain and Art sold At Christie's Hong Kong This Week

$400,000,000 in Porcelain and Art Sold Hong Kong

May 2013 Asia Sales in Hong Kong at Christie's Strong, 3.2 Billion HK$

After the nose dive in the Chinese art market in 2012 down by nearly 45% in gross dollars, this week's series of auctions in Hong Kong of Chinese Works of art, rare jewelry, wine, paintings etc.. realized a whopping 3.2 Billion Hong Kong Dollars or $418,976,398 US.

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Not bad at all. The sales were spread out over 12 individual auctions starting on May 25 and finishing up on the 29th.

Below is an excellent PRE-AUCTION video  produced by Christie's for their clients. They always do a superb job with them and are very informative. They are part in English and in Chinese, during the Chinese language portions they are subtitled in English...

 Fines Chinese Ceramics, Jades and Furniture

Fine and Classical Paintings

Auction Prices Realized

Here are a few of the objects sold the prices realized. Overall the objects exceeded estimates, though some were rolled back to more conservative levels than those of a couple years ago.

One segment of the sale was titled:


YC Chen was a major dealer for decades in the Asian art market sat happily among many other legendary dealers and collectors such as Edward Chow and the Parisian-New York dealer C.T. Loo.

Items from the Chen collection were all sold, 100% SOLD, at averaged prices of four time estimate. The power of provenance can NEVER be underestimated.

Mr. Chen was among the last of the prominent dealers who fled Shanghai for Hong Kong during the 1950's as China turned Communist under Mao. The pre-sale estimate for the 67 lots from his collection totaled 6.4 Million Dollars US and brought in approximately four times the estimate at roughly 25 Million Dollars US. Including the extremely rare and fine pair of Famille Rose Qianlong Vases shown below for 7 Million US. Among the other offerings from the collection were some superb examples of Zitan Tables and Kangxi Period Month Cups.

For More on the Chen Collection Click HERE:

Christie's $2,157,698, XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)

Christie's $7,200,000 US, Qianlong Period

Christie's $2,157,698 US. 20th C., FU BAOSHI (1904-1965) 

BADA SHANREN (1626-1705)
$1,432,890 US

Christie's $1,634,777, 20th C. QI BAISHI (1863-1957)  

Christie's $897,318 US QI BAISHI (1863-1957)

Christie's $500,000 US, WANG XUEHAO (1754-1832) 

Detail of Vase Below

Christie's $1,200,000, 18th C. YONGZHENG Period

Christie's $314,000 US, 20th C. Republic Period Dated 1933

Christie's $64,000 US, 18th C. Qianlong Period

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fake Chinese Porcelain and Jade On Ebay Is a Huge Problem

Fake Chinese Porcelain and Jade On Ebay Is a Huge Problem

Most Antiques Listed Ebay under Chinese Antiques Are Copies, Fakes or Just Junk

  • There ARE Great Things TOO! Really Great!  

Within the "Trade" it's been no secret for a very long time that 90% of the Chinese porcelain, jade carvings, as well as bronzes listed on EBAY are either modern fakes or are being sold with blatantly incorrect statements of age.  Yes 90% exaggeration. If they are being sold by dealers in Mainland China the number is pretty much 100% fake.
  Fake Chinese Porcelain and Jade On Ebay Is a Huge Problem
Fake Qianlong Dish On Ebay

So, out of the 90,000 plus active listings on Ebay listed under Asian Antiques-China, all but maybe a few thousand of them are modern knock offs made in China under the watchful and supportive eye of the Chinese government.

  • FACTOID: The mainland Chinese Government actually subsidizes the Fake Chinese Art industry. Its no secret, its regrettably just the way it is. They do it just as they do with designer jeans, handbags and I-Phones. 

The fakes are often offered right out of China and the rest are being sold by ill-informed or simply dishonest sellers around the world including the United States who have sources in China for goods.
  • FACTOID: Under Chinese Law it is Illegal to export from Mainland China objects made prior to 1911, unless it has been deemed virtually worthless and is wax stamped for export. Wax seals are no proof of age and can be found on NEW pieces. 


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Now For A Movie

What listings to Avoid ALL of the TIME, 100% of the Time 

The first thing to understand is, many dealers in China have learned having a seller's Address on the "Item location:CHINA, China" or "Item location: Shanghai, China" is the kiss of death. As aconsequence many of the FAKERS have opted to work with sellers in the USA or Canada which then results in a US or Canadian listing location. If you see a listing stating "all items are warehoused in the United States" or anything like it, run for your life...
Reproduction Chinese Doucai Vase
Fake Ming Doucai vase, On Ebay for $20 Million

Knowing Your Competition On Ebay, They Are Professionals

If you're shopping on Ebay to find bargain basement deals on rare Chinese things, forget it.

Smart, well informed dealers and long term collectors will make sure it doesn't happen virtually all of the time. If you think you've bought an "Imperial Qianlong Vase" for a few hundred dollars, you haven't, you bought a copy. I can assure you of this with pretty much 100% certainty. A Pro can spot the real stuff a mile away..and they DO check Ebay regularly day and night and will pay more than you.

Around the world are thousands of people sitting at computers filtering every single NEW listing on
Modern Copy of Song Jade Animal
Fake Song Dynasty jade, On Ebay for $12,000
Ebay, Live Auctioneers and hundreds of auction houses constantly, 24/7. Often high end dealers will have legions of workers doing it for them, flagging anything that looks good for their employers to look at. They do it because on occasion some excellent material does appear and its well worth the cost to be forever checking.

Ebay is a VERY Price Efficient Market, Which is Good and Bad

Every knowledgeable and experienced Asian Art dealer on Ebay has had this experience many times, including myself. After starting an "auction listing" for a terrific piece, within minutes to an hour comes a flood of requests for a "Buy It Now" price in your "My Message's" box.

  • A friend of mine recently put up a listing and within one hour had multiple offers above $50,000. He did the smart thing, he pulled it and gave it to Christie's in NY with an auction estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It will probably bring $125,000 to $150,000. Most "Buy It Now" OFFERS made are below the piece's actual value and it's rarely a good idea to sell it for that price. 
  • A month ago we listed a rather nice Tea Dust Glaze late 19th C. Guangxu mark and period vase on Ebay from a local estate under the auction format, with a starting price of just $9.99. Within 24 hours we had multiple "Offers" ranging from $4,000 to $9,000. We let the auction run it's course, the vase sold for over $12,400. The offers were obviously low-ball numbers. 
    Ming Dynasty Wuacai Jar
    REAL Ming Transitional Period Wucai Jar,

All of this makes Ebay very efficient, 24/7. So finding Santa Claus on Ebay is a tough road to hoe. So, if it happens once every couple years, that's great, but until you know what you're really doing save your money and buy the real stuff.

The flip side of Ebay's price efficiency is good for newbie and intermediate collectors, you're not likely to overpay too much at anytime, because so many knowledgeable buyers are on there and they KNOW what to pay.

So You Think You're Smarter Than The Fakers?

Well, unless you're a long term Chinese porcelain, jade or bronze dealer or collector..You're Not Smarter..You are road kill looking for a bumper ..The reality is, if you don't really KNOW the difference between superb fakes and authentic items, nothing in a Blog can help you, I can only give you some good advice.

Large Ming Dynasty Blue and White Jar
REAL Late Ming Blue and White Jar,
Sold for $5,400 on Ebay

Spending a few afternoons browsing a museum or local antique shops who have a few Chinese Export items won't teach you much of anything. The reasons are simple, you just don't know what you're looking at and neither do 99% of the antiques dealers out there. While most museums do a good job of identifying things, what you're going to see in a good museum is extremely unlikely to present itself to you as "beginner's luck" while on Ebay or in an Antique Store. 
  • We can  guide you to some excellent Ebay sellers. So READ ON! They do Exist!

Knowing More Than The Fakers

What it takes to know the difference is decades of study, handling tens of thousands of pieces, spending $20,000 to $75,000 on books, going to superb museums over and over and previewing dozens of auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's.  Their is no short cut, no matter how smart you think you're not smart enough. Its a multi billion dollar business.

  • FACTOID: Most makers in China of FAKES are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to Authentic Chinese objects. They DO know what pieces should look like including; decoration, colors, forms-shapes, proper sizes, proportions, glazes and marks.  

Over the years, I've seen some of the smartest folks around spend small fortunes on fakes and on occasions some pretty larges fortunes, hundreds of thousands of dollars on worthless junk.  They've bought so many fakes they think the real stuff is fake and that the fakes are REAL. This knowledge by the Chinese is why fake Chinese porcelain and jade on eBay is a huge problem.

These include Doctors, Lawyers, Scientists, Tech Wizards all the way to professors at Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and other "Ivy League" institutions. They are after all accustomed to being the smartest guy in the room within their own professions and forget how long it took to know what they know.

Many smart people wrongly assume and believe.."how hard can it be to spot rare Chinese vases?" The chances are it's as hard or harder than what they do for a living.

  • FACTOID: Fraud and Deception is always so hard to spot, just ask Bernie Madof's victims. Most were smart savvy investors....but not smart enough for a Pro, they didn't have a clue until it was over.  The same holds true for the art world, only on steroids. Hundreds of Museums including the Metropolitan in New York and the Louvre in Paris have fallen victims to art fraud. 

Estate Collections of Chinese Art in New England
How To Contact Us..for help finding PERIOD Chinese Objects

So the question obviously becomes how do you tell the difference between real and reproduction? The short answer is, "its not always easy".  The long answer? Buy from reputable dealers on the mega site and yes they certainly DO exist.

Finding Good Asian Antique Dealers on Ebay, This Is How. 

Unless you're prepared to spend hours trying to figure out who is good and who isn't, do what the pros do. Go straight to the dealers who have, year after year been selling successfully on the Ebay and have really established themselves for being straight forward, knowledgeable and honest.  

  • FACTOID: Many of these sellers also have nice galleries, once you've done a little business with them they will likely want to do some business with you for things they will never be putting on Ebay. It can be an opportunity to acquire some great things. 

Have you ever used the Ebay affiliate site 

Below is a link to our site pre-loaded with ONLY proven well known sellers on eBay. Many are in the USA as well as Great Britain, the Netherlands and France. They are overall a really good group of dealers and nearly always have things online.
Visit our list of over 125 favorite eBay Sellers!

This all courtesy of the Ebay Affiliate Program...and yes its REALLY 100% Free!, They don't even ask you to log in or join for any reason. Its a real free-bee!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Damaged Chinese Vases Still Very Valuable, Its A World Wide Market Worth Billions

Damaged Chinese Vases Still Very Valuable, Its A World Wide Market Worth Billions

Perfect Chinese Porcelain Is Getting Hard To Find, Damaged Pieces Can Still Be Very Valuable

  • Damaged Chinese Pieces Can Bring Large Amounts Of Money
  • The Chinese Porcelain Market IS Red Hot Globally, Not Just In China

eBay Ranked number one search site

In the not too distant past a crack, chip, fracture or drilled hole in the bottom of a Chinese porcelain was the "kiss of death" to value, in today's overheated Asian art market this is no longer the case.

Anyone in "the trade" will tell you coming across Chinese vases who have been previously drilled and made into table lamps is not unusual. Starting around 1920 it became very fashionable to take "pretty" Chinese pieces and putting them to a new uses as a lighting device. Pairs of vases decorated in Famille Rose, blue and white, doucai, wucai, sancai and every other imaginable combination including monchromes of all blue or red were in effect violated and "lamped".

This regrettable practice has gone on un-abated for the last 90 plus years.

Do No Drill Your Chinese Vase before Asking An Expert About It's value FIRST

Damaged Chinese Vases Still Very Valuable, Its A World Wide Market Worth Billions
Drilled Qianlong Vase Sells For $71,400
The difference between a hole and no hole can means thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A couple of good cases in point have come into the news in the last few years.

Duke's Auctioneers in the UK recently sold a fabulously pretty underglaze blue and red Qianlong period vase that had been drilled by the previous owner and is thought to have had before drilling the mark of the Emperor Qianlong (1736 to 1795).  No one can tell whether it did or not have the mark.

Had it not been drilled the vase without the mark could have easily reached $150,000 and with the mark could have brought $800,000. However it was drilled and STILL brought $71,400 hole and all...not bad.



Drilled and Broken Vase brought $800,000

A couples years ago another drilled vase from the Ming dynasty blue and white "perfumer" which retained it's Imperial Ming mark sold for an astounding $800,000. This one turned up in the UK as well after having been given to a secretary as a gift for years of service, the owner had no idea of it's value before making the gift. 

Drilled Qianlong vase
In that case, the top was also broken off as well as the base being drilled, fortunately the Imperial mark was on the side of the piece. had it not been drilled it would have realized $3.5 to $5 million easily. 

Once again that's still not bad at all..!

Are All Drilled Vases Worth a Small Fortune?

The short answer is NO, not all of them, not even most of them. But they can easily be worth more
Rare Damaged Vase With reign Mark
Ming Under-glaze Blue Lamped vase, Sold for $800,000
than one would expect. So can pieces that have been cracked and chipped and are repairable. A restored piece is NEVER worth as much as an untouched object.

If you have something that's damaged or chipped, do not try "gluing it" yourself with some epoxy or worse yet "Crazy Glue"...Gently tape the broken piece to the vase to bowl after putting the shards into a zip lock bag.

Who is Buyer All of These Pieces?

Many are being bought by collectors and dealers in China, BUT an astounding number of them are still being chased by collectors around the rest of the world.

For example, perhaps one of the largest Chinese furniture collections in the world belongs not to a Chinese collector but an American buyer. Throughout the United States and Europe are thousands and thousands of well healed dealers and collectors going toe to toe with wallets in Hang Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

In addition to private collectors around the globe, Institutions-Museums backed by Wall Street billionaires are helping to boost and balance their collections as prices rise.

Its a changing world in Chinese objects and changing fro the better. As long as the Chinese economy remains intact, all should be well with the Art market there including demand and price supports around the world.

So How Damaged Does Something have To be Before you Give Up?

A while ago at the Fitzwilliam Museum which is part of Britain's  University of Cambridge had a disaster. A man claimed he fell over his shoe laces and smashed a set of four Kangxi Period Famille verte pieces comprising a pair of Yen Yen Vase and a matching lidded jar. Their value? Roughly $750,000.

Amazingly they were not the Museum decided to restore them..have a look at how they did...

After The Crash of Three vases at the Fitzwilliam

and After the restoration....

Restored Fitzwilliam Kangxi Pieces. 

So, what are the worth now, despite the massive restoration? probably around $50,000 still. 

Not bad huh?

So, do not give up HOPE! If you need help or a value on Chinese Porcelain, jades, bronzes or email me some pictures. As we said at the beginning, "Damaged Chinese Vases Still Very Valuable, Its A World Wide Market Worth Billions". A billion dollar market can be very forgiving.  

Many thanks for visiting, Peter L. Combs

plcombs Asian Art, Appraisers and Dealers
plcombs Asian Art, Appraisers and Dealers