£100 Estimate & Sells For £20,000 Tooveys Kangxi Dish Was It Real?

Tooveys Sale :SALE DATE – Thursday 5th December 2013

A Chinese blue and white porcelain saucer dish, mark of Kangxi but probably late 19th Century, painted to interior and exterior with dragons amongst vapours, pseudo six character mark to base, diameter approx 32cm (small glaze chip to rim). Estimate £150 – £200

SOLD FOR : £20,000

Here is the Toovey dish! A Chinese blue and white porcelain saucer dish, mark of Kangxi but probably late 19th Century, painted to interior and exterior with dragons amongst vapours, pseudo six character mark to base, diameter approx 32cm (small glaze chip to rim).
Here is the Toovey dish! Tooveys description: A Chinese blue and white porcelain saucer dish, mark of Kangxi but probably late 19th Century, painted to interior and exterior with dragons amongst vapours, pseudo six character mark to base, diameter approx 32cm (small glaze chip to rim).

 

I found this dish while browsing their catalogue online, did not have time to view the sale as I was on a buying trip up North. Described as probably 19thc and with a really low estimate. I was confident enough just by looking at the photos to bid on this dish, i was hoping it had been missed by the London trade as every now and then pieces do slip through, no such luck though – bidding started at £300 and minutes later the hammer came down at £20k. Here was me hoping maybe I’d found a sleeper and could buy it for a few thousand… Keep trying Irv!

Was the dish real though?

The dish was of the period and a nice example at that and a good size. Similar dishes have sold at the big 3 auction houses for varying sums. Trouble is with Chinese antiques there is no real price discovery mechanism. A vase can sell for one price one week then a few weeks later an identical vase sold elsewhere can make double or half of the original previous auction price. No one knows the price of anything, were all just making it up as we go along but trying to use auction records as a guide.

Its all in the details

The majority of Chinese imperial porcelains were all made to a strict design, shape & palette, so with a little research we can confidently bid on a piece just by studying a few good photographs.

Bonhams sold this wonderful Kangxi dragon dish can you see the similarities with the Toovey dish above.
Bonhams sold this wonderful Kangxi dragon dish, can you see the similarities with the Toovey dish above.
This time a Kangxi dish from Sothebys
This time a Kangxi dish from Sothebys

 

Another few indicators on the Toovey dish being period for me was as well as the decoration being inline with 18thc dishes the thinness of the porcelain was correct for the period, 19thc copies are usually potted thicker also the six character Kangxi mark on the back of the Toovey dish looked to have been written by the same hand as marks on other known period pieces. Remember during the production of porcelains at that time there would have only been a few calligraphers whose sole job was to paint reign marks on porcelain day in and day out, if you study the reign marks on period pieces enough you can become familiar with the hand of each calligrapher. I need get out more……

Mark on a Christies Kangxi dish.
Mark on a Christies Kangxi dish.

 

Kangxi mark from another dish sold at Christies.
Kangxi mark from another dish sold at Christies.
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The mark on the Toovey dish was obviously executed by the same calligrapher as the two above. Remember the angle and lighting for this mark is different from the marks above but it’s all there in the detail…

 

Also at Toovey’s sale

LOT NUMBER : 1175

SALE DATE – Thursday 5th December 2013

An Islamic garnet, turquoise and agate set ornamental waist belt buckle, probably Turkish, of two piece triple section design, mounted with a central agate shaped panel and three crescent panels within a border of alternating foil backed garnets and turquoise, length approx 25cm, with textile belt.

SOLD FOR : £30,000 against a very low estimate

p.s. Its not Turkish, it’s Indian (Mughal) also the panels are Jade not Agate.

Click image for larger version.

mughal-tooveys