Asian Antiques Appraisals And Valuations

Chinese Antique Appraiser Fired – More To The Story Than Meets The Eye?

Osenat auction house in France just sold a Chinese Tianquiping vase for more than 7.7 million euros. Trouble is their Asian art expert valued the vase at only 2,000 euros. It was not until a bidding war broke out among Chinese buyers did the massive clanger become apparent.

The seller a French woman living abroad had no expectations for the vase as far as she was concerned it was just an old vase her mother had owned for years, and she was just selling off items from her mother’s estate after she had passed away.

The blue and white vase decorated with clouds and nine dragons was originally purchased by the seller’s grandmother and then passed down, spending decades just holding flowers in the family home.

The Asian art expert who worked for the auction house believed the vase to be a 20thc copy and worth no more than a couple of thousand Euros. The minute the auction house published photos of the vase online they were flooded with enquiries from mainland Chinese buyers.

“They came with lamps and magnifying glasses to look at it. Obviously they saw something,” Osenat auction said. “There were so many registrations to take part in the auction online we had to stop them. At that point we understood something was happening.”

The buyers believed this vase to be Qianlong mark and period which was reflected in the price.

Bids were placed over the phone with a deposit of 10,000 euros. As the sale drew to a close, the calls became more frantic. In the end, the vase sold for almost 4,000 times the original estimate, going to an unnamed buyer in China.

Osenat auction said “Our expert made a huge mistake, and now he no longer works for us. It was, after all, a serious mistake.”

However, not even the director of the auction house’s Asian arts department is completely convinced the expert was wrong. Cédric Laborde says it may have been an artfully crafted copy. “We don’t know whether it is old or not or why it sold for such a price,” Laborde said. “Perhaps we will never know.”

Comment By Irv: What a funny thing to say by the auction house director. He seems to be covering his back end for some reason. They sack their expert and then come out with the following statement “it may have been an artfully crafted copy”.

There is definitely a rabbit off somewhere, what better way to get around Chinas current capital controls – Think about it…


Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

Do you own a piece of Chinese porcelain or an oriental work of art that you would like to know more about, such as age, history and value?

Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.