Why Buy Chinese Antiques?

Investing in Chinese porcelain & works of art can be very profitable, but be sure to know what you are buying is of good quality – and genuine! There is a lot of fake items on the market.

The entire global market for Chinese artworks totaled US$8.5 billion in 2013, some 28% of the value of total sales of art and antiques auctioned around the world, with mainland China accounting for 70% of the total.

Within this sector, the highest average prices were found in older period pieces, reflecting a strong cultural focus in China, as well as limited supply.

The wealth, limited supply, and economic dynamics within China all point to a solid outlook for long-term growth in the Chinese art & antiques market.

The chart below shows the distribution of fine art auction sales revenue worldwide in 2016 by country.

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Recent Trip To Jingdezhen

I have not long been back from a trip to China, I traveled all over China for a few months and have to say the place and the people were amazing. The people were so hospitable and helpful and the cities so impressive, exciting and welcoming. The country on a whole is astonishing, breathtaking & stunning.

I decided to travel to Jingdezhen the porcelain capital of the world where I got to see a lot of stuff including a fully operational dragon kiln in action as well as witnessing porcelain production from mining kaolin in the surrounding hills to handling pieces fresh out the kiln.

Had to laugh when i learned for many producers their biggest customers were western auction houses who regularly order large shipments with strict instructions to make the pieces look old… No wonder so many western provincial auction house are building big new modern auction gallery’s.


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Chinese vase valued at £30 sells for £40,000 in UK auction

The three-inch tall blue and white vase bearing a Yongzheng six charachter mark has sold for 40,000 pounds at an auction in Melton Mowbray.

The vase carried an estimate of 30 to 40 pounds as it was cracked and chipped & was part of a tray lot.

Senior auctioneer Simon Shouler said: “The vase was on a small tray of Chinese porcelain and much of it was cracked and chipped.

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Song Dynasty Ru Brush Washer Sells For $37.7 Million

The dish, which has a diameter of just 13cm and would have been used to clean brushes, has a glowing, intense blue-green glaze and ‘ice crackle’ pattern.

It was offered by Sotheby’s with a guide price of £10 million ($13.24 million), but there was a fierce 20-minute bidding war and the dish eventually sold to an anonymous bidder for £28 million ($37.7 million).

The bowl’s buyer has chosen to remain anonymous.

Bidding began at around $10.2m, and the winning offer – from a phone bidder – was greeted with a round of applause.

Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, commented: ‘It’s a totally new benchmark for Chinese ceramics and we’ve made history with this piece today,’

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£230,000 For Yongzheng Ming Style Dish

A Yongzheng (1723-35) mark and period 13inch dish just sold at Hansons auction for £230,000.

Bought by businessman Alexander Robertson in the early 20th Century, the plate had been valued at £20,000 on the Antiques Roadshow in the 1990s, but remained on display in an ornamental holder for many years.

A replica of the plate is currently on display in the National Museum of China, which is believed to have driven up the price and led to a record 19 phone lines booked by bidders.

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£500 Estimate – Sells For £4 Million – Qianlong?

Apparently it was a Chinese amateur what ever that means that bought the vase. The auctioneer at the Geneve-Encheres auction house said the age of the vase was difficult to evaluate accurately and that they tended to be conservative in their estimates.

According to the catalogue, the vase, which is 60cm tall and depicts three blue dragons on a yellow background, is from the 20th century but it bears an unverified mark from the 18th century Qianlong era.

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How To Identify Antique Chinese Porcelain Through Symbolism

Unless you have been around Chinese antique porcelain for a number of years then simply identifying a piece as Chinese & not Japanese can be confusing.

I can not tell you how to identify Chinese porcelain pieces with a 100% accuracy via this article but I can show you certain traits & symbolism commonly used on Chinese porcelain that will hopefully help you identify or understand the meaning of symbols used in Chinese porcelain production.

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How To Tell If A Chinese Vase Is Valuable

So how do you tell if a Chinese vase is valuable?

You cant really! Unless you have years of experience buying, selling, studying & collecting. There are just way too many factors to be taken into consideration such as:

  • Age
  • Decoration
  • Period
  • Artist
  • Palette
  • Shape
  • What Kiln

The list goes on.

Another factor to take into consideration is the fact that there is no price discovery mechanism when it comes to Chinese antique porcelain, meaning a vase may sell today for $1000 but a month later that same or similar vase could sell for $5000 or even $10,000 so its virtually impossible to put an accurate price on a piece in a market so erratic.

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