I am often asked to appraise art people have bought in the past 10-20 years. These items include objects acquired impulsively during casual trips to Asia, from estate sales, or even from thrift stores, all for low prices, or occasionally purchased from non-specialist dealers or those catering to decorators. Many people think they are getting good buys. Most will be disappointed with my conclusions. It is always imperative when building a serious collection to study the type of art you are interested in yourself, consider provenance (history of past ownership) when purchasing objects, and buy from reputable dealers or auction houses.
A recent high-priced sale of a British collection of Chinese antiquities assembled in the 1950s and '60s shows why this matters.