Feb 14, 2017

Top Chinese Painters in 2016

Artprice market report has just published a listing of the top Chinese painting sales for 2016.
Chinese Painting Sales - 2016
The article notes -
The new records in modern and contemporary art confirm the trend which began recently, notably with the new record reached by ZHANG Daqian (1899-1983), the Chinese Picasso… The sale of Zhang Daqian’s works generated more than $300 million in 2016, although the market has quietened down compared to 2014 when his works raised more than $500m in one year.

Feb 13, 2017

Selling Your Parents' Possessions is Harder than You Think

I've been getting a lot of queries recently from people who need to dispose of family possessions. Sadly, much of what I am asked to evaluate have only minimal decorative value. That is because lifestyles of younger people have changed and they are simply not so interested in antiques, Western or Asian, unless the pieces are really, really special. I am happy to look at things, for my minimun fee, and advise on where things can be sold. But it is important for people who contact me to understand they need to have realistic expectations and in most cases, sales will not be able to pay for care of elderly loved ones.

Much has been written on this issue lately, including this interesting, basic article, Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents' Stuff

Jan 12, 2017


The Appraisal Foundation has produced a short (2-page) brochure (download it here: PERSONAL PROPERTY APPRAISERS AND YOU), that very succinctly and clearly offers the general public and others who recommend appraisers to individuals (librarians, museum curators, bank trust officers, attorneys, insurance companies, etc.) advice on what qualifications appraisers must have and how to find appropriate specialist appraisers.

Nov 12, 2016

Concise Lowdown on US Ivory Sales Restrictions

I just came across a good, short, and clear article, "Antique Dealers Come Face-to-Face With Ivory Ban" By Kristin Hugo in National Geographic online (July 8, 2016) that explains the difficulties for the antique trade the new ban on sale of endangered species material has caused.

It explains
The new ban restricts interstate sales of ivory items to two narrow categories: antique ivory that’s proven to be more than a century old and items that contain only a little ivory, such as a violin bow with an ivory tip.

 and that
increasing stigma against ivory ownership and tighter regulations at the state and federal levels have been encouraging dealers to gradually get out of the business.

it also points out that
It remains legal to sell antique ivory within states, other than in California, New York, New Jersey, or Hawaii, which have passed state bans on the ivory trade. Other states have legislation pending. That means a market still exists for some ivory sellers. 

Lastly, the article offers some guidance on what to do with ivory items you are unable to sell:
Ivory owners who want to get rid of legally acquired ivory can donate it to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s national wildlife repository, in Colorado, if they’re willing to pay the shipping costs. Or they can simply keep it in their own private collections, which Lang said is a popular option for antique dealers wanting to remove ivory from their stores.

Owners may also offer to donate their ivory to a museum. Art, culture, and science museums in particular might be interested in legally acquired, historically significant ivory, according to Sheila Hoffman, the chair of the American Alliance of Museums’ ethics subcommittee.

Sep 29, 2016

Advice on Selecting a Qualified Appraiser

Many thousands of persons hold themselves out to the public as appraisers but few are actually properly trained to do the job. The IRS and knowledgable insurance companies, bank asset managers, and attorneys have been requiring all appraisers they hire to adhere to USPAP as well as Appraisal Foundation standards when selecting appraisers. Members of the general public should as well.

For a good discussion of what it takes to be a qualified appraiser, see this article PERSONAL PROPERTY APPRAISER QUALIFICATION CRITERIA

Although the new standards described in the article above will not go into effect until January 1, 2018, you should be mindful of them now. You can download the Appraisal Foundation brouchure on these new criteria HERE

Jul 24, 2016


The Chinese art market is dominated by sales at auction houses within Mainland China, in Hong Kong, or in Taiwan. There are so many auction houses these days that it is hard for the public to know which ones are the larger and more important ones. I have complied the list below, based on data culled from several sources include Artnet, Artprice, Artron, and Blouin. Note that this list OMITS the big three Western auction houses that have sales in China: Christie's (HK & Shanghai), Sotheby's (HK & Beijing), and Bonhams (HK).

Beijing ChengXuan Auctions Co., Ltd.

Beijing Council International Auction Co.,
Ltd. 北京匡时国际拍卖有限公司

Beijing Huachen Auctions Co., Ltd.

China Guardian Auctions Co., Ltd.
Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo,
New York, Vancouver

Duo Yun Xuan Auctions Co., Ltd.

Beijing Hanhai Auction Co., Ltd.

Hosane Auction Co. Ltd.

Poly Auction (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong

Poly International Auction Co., Ltd.

Ravenel International Art Group
Taipei, Taiwan; Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai, China

Rong Bao Zhai

Rong Bao Zhai (Shanghai) Auction Co., Ltd.

Sungari International Auction

United Asian Auctioneers
Hong Kong

XiLing YinShe Auction Co. Ltd.
Hangzhou, Beijing

Zhong Cheng Auction Co., Ltd.

Jun 22, 2016

Sales for Fine Japanese Prints Set Record

The June 21 Paris Sale of the famous Portier collection of Japanese prints in Paris at Druot June 21, 2016 netted record prices for superlative prints, indicative of why well preserved and rare prints by famous masters are in high demand among collectors. See a story on this HERE
Kitagawa Utamaro, "Deeply Hidden Love (Fukaku shinobu koi)," from the series “Anthology of Poems: The Love Section” (Kasen koi no bu), pink mica ground Oban tate-e, 24.6 x 36.2 cm. Sold: €745,800