Friday, December 30, 2011

All About Collecting Chinese Antiques

Possessing Chinese antiques is a great way to enlarge your antique collection. Some unique Chinese antiques that can be your prized possessions are:-


Pendants are among one of the Chinese antiques that are extraordinary. You will find some beautifully undercut pendants with the same kind of intricate carvings that you will find in snuff bottles. Another good thing is that the pendants may not cost you much. If you are lucky you may discover some very rare beauties as well.

Snuff Bottles

The Chinese snuff boxes are unique masterpieces with beautifully carved designs. The snuff bottles which were used to store snuff now are considered as invaluable pieces of art and are in high demand. The snuff bottles are made up of different materials like jade, ivory, wood, glass, metal, ceramic, porcelain and tortoiseshells. The unique feature of these snuff bottles is the exquisite paintings and calligraphy is done in the inside of the bottles


Any Chinese item made of jade like snuff bottles and pendants are costlier than large jade carvings because of the amount of effort that is put in to create these articles. You will be astonished by the innumerable jade carvings that you can find such as sculptures of animals, bowls, figures, screens, boxes and boulder carvings. Some items will leave you wonderstruck such as vases that have lids attached by chains which may have several links and all these are carved out of a single piece of rock. Jade is a very difficult material to work with. Thus these jade carvings are truly remarkable and deserving pieces of Chinese antiques.

Chinese Cinnabar Lacquerware

When an item is coated with lacquer they are referred to as lacquerware. The lacquer is a product of a tree that gives a long lasting finish and does not get spoilt by water, acid or scratches. The art of lacquerware is an age old tradition in Chinese history. The Chinese added a red color pigment called Cinnabar to the lacquer for coating the items That is how the name Chinese Cinnabar lacquerware came into being. You may not often find these unique Chinese antiques displayed regularly because they react negatively to light which can cause the browning of the item.

It is said that 500 coats of lacquer are applied depending on the size of the item and the artwork that would be done. Only after the first coat gets dried the second coat is applied and it may take several years to get the required coats. After the object is duly coated the artisan carves intricate designs on them and since lacquer is hard it requires sharp tools and high proficiency. Sometimes there are different colored layers of lacquer and the artisan has to display his carving skills to make the contrasting colors visible. The ancient cinnabar lacquerware consisted of any type and size of object but in modern days the items that you will find are small boxes, plates, trays, beaded jewelry and other smaller objects.

Antiques Businesses Are Becoming Very Popular

If you are deciding to become an antique dealer keep in mind that you will be meeting many different type of people, each of these people you meet have a different role in antique dealings. Many people are now finding antiques as a great way of making their rooms look that little bit more special. When it comes to antiques many people have their own agenda, many people prefer clocks, porcelain, furniture or jewelry.

Next look to make sure that you can afford to purchase items in your chosen item, you may be fascinated say by rare art, but unfortunately it may be unaffordable. Purchasing antiques usually involves money; lots of money, gathering the proper information can help with the purchase process and avoid being fooled or making mistakes. Knowing the how to speak "antique" or knowing the proper terminology and doing the proper research will help in determining what to look for and what to buy, it will also help in knowing how much the items are worth so you don't overpay for the item.

In today's world antiques have become big business for many people, finding that piece that was created many years ago and selling it for 3 to 4 times its value is a great way to make money. If you compare the same items today with those that were created years ago it is amazing how the older items are made incredibly well plus they fetch more money on the market.

To find old pieces of furniture you need to look in the following places, outhouses, attics or cellars, many people stored their valuable items in these places. Furniture began to bear designs such as pagodas and birds, originally only seen on items of porcelain. Antique furniture that has been covered with a finish that is long lasting will look better plus fetch a higher price. But, over time and with polishing, oak darkens into a rich brown color. Until the middle of the 17th Century, furniture was fairly simple, made of oak with peg joints.

Place your collection on display or will then be kept in a safe place. For some who have inherited a lovely collection of heirlooms, yet do not have any idea of how to look after them or even keeping up with the collection they already have as well as they should.

It's the fluctuations in relative humidity caused by central heating that results in real damage. Consider installing a humidifier on your furnace to raise the humidity levels in winter and run a dehumidifier during the summer months. With wood antiques, you want the humidity to be as stable as possible. To take care of the antique furniture you will need to wax the pieces with bees wax, do not store the furniture in damp, bright rooms, and make sure the furniture is not in a place that the temperatures fluctuate because this may damage the wood.

There are many benefits when selling on an online Antique mall. You want to sell your antiques or collectibles online be careful and research the proper way to do this. One of the most popular places where people from all over the country display and have their antiques appraised is at the Antiques Roadshow.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Successful Antique Buying

I have written this article because I am aware of the interest that people have in antiques, both buying and selling, and I hope that it will provide some helpful information which will make the process smoother.

One of the most recognizable Latin expressions is caveat emptor. It translates to buyer beware, and has been used in a variety of situations to express a simple idea, that anyone making a purchase should be sure to be well informed so that they do not suffer in a bad deal.

We often hear the expression used today to refer to situations where a great deal of money may be on the line with no real guarantee associated with it. For instance, the purchase of a car or other expensive item on an as is basis may warrant a cry of caveat emptor. Another area in which the old adage is well suited is antique buying.

When one buys an antique, they generally make the purchase on an as is basis. This means they are making the purchase with no opportunity for exchange or return. The item is handed over in its existing condition and no additional guarantee or warranty is offered. This puts an exceptional burden on the buyer to make sure he or she understands exactly what is being acquired.

Why is this uniquely applicable to antiques? There are a few reasons.

First, in the realm of antique collectibles, condition is a primary factor in determining an items value. Thus, a chipped, dented or scratched antique may be worth considerably less than a model in better condition. Buyers must closely examine the antique to make sure its condition is sufficient to justify the asking price.

Second, originality is a highly valued characteristic of antiques. Thus, items that have been repaired or refinished may not carry nearly the value of a wholly original piece. Buyers must inspect antique buys carefully to make sure that nothing has been done to modify the original. If signs of repair or renovation are apparent, the buyer must know how those actions will impact the pieces value.

Third, although the antique world is populated primarily by honest and trustworthy people, there is always a risk of receiving a phony or otherwise non-genuine item. Sometimes the sale of a bogus piece is an intentional act by a nefarious vendor. More often, however, it happens as the result of ignorance. Many reproductions can be quite compelling to the untrained eye, for instance. Buyers need to be knowledgeable about the kinds of antiques for which they are shopping and should be trained to spot imitations when possible.

Now before you read any further I just want to say that I really do hope that you are finding this helpful, because I have written this as I believe that we need to know more about this subject, so, having said that, lets continue.

The three elements of antique buying which I have previously mentioned make the caveat emptor mantra an apt warning for collectors. With so much risk in the marketplace, what can an antique collector do?

First, they must learn techniques for spotting repair work and imitation products. Buyers should understand how to use long wave black lights and other tools to spot bad products.

Second, buyers should learn all they can about grading the quality of an antiques condition. They should not take a vendors word that the antique in front of them is in great shape. They must, instead, know what kind of wear is acceptable and what types of damage will destroy a particular antiques value.

Third, buyers should seek all available information about the antiques in which they are interested. They should strive to become experts on the antiques. A strong knowledge base will prevent many poor purchasing decisions. As an added benefit, those who are learning more about antiques in which they are truly interested generally find the research and learning process enjoyable.

This is a great advantage to the antique collecting hobby, the work involved can be perceived by the collector as a fun and enjoyable part of the hobby experience.

Even expert museum curators are occasionally fooled by clever reproductions. The most astute collectors sometimes make buying errors or fail to notice something about an antique they should have. Buying antique collectibles is never a completely foolproof enterprise. Although there is no way to completely protect oneself in the marketplace, by following a few basic guidelines an antique collector can heed the warning of buyer beware in a way that will significantly reduce the likelihood of bad decision making.

Let me end this article by saying that there is a lot of information out there in books, on the internet, on video on the subject of antique collecting, buying, and selling, you just need to apply your mind to research in a methodical manner.

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Taking The Risk Out Of Online Antique Auctions

Online antique auction sites abound like daisies in the vastness of the Internet. And who would not want to graciously get rid of that old piano which is taking up too much dust? Or any of those antique thingamajigs which get accumulated over the years? You can never take too much junk in this lifetime. And just like what the old saying emphasizes: one man's garbage may actually be another man's treasure. Somewhere in the other parts of the world, there must be that person looking for that very antique object you are craving to discard to free up some space for your home. Since you can't literally go from house to house searching for that person, you could just post your object on online antique auctions. Problem solved? Not quite. Just like any other online endeavors, you must be well-seasoned with the tricks of the trade of online antique auctions.

Given the fact that it's online, transactions are much trickier. Watch out, lest you might end up risking more than you are ready to bargain for. Online antique auctions are really convenient, but they come with a catch of increased risk. One good way of learning the ropes of the machinations of your selected online antique auction site is by really experiencing buying from there before you make any of your flying saucers open for public bidding. Once you get acquainted with the buying process, you will gain much more confidence in selling your antiques. In case you find something iffy with the process, you could always bail out and not have much to lose.

In the line of talking about the iffy feel of some websites, it might do you a lot of good if you trust your instincts. True, the site may look good and there may be no known casualties to the transactions made in the website, but if you don't feel too good about it, don't go for it. You can never be too careful when it comes to things like these. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Privacy policies, no matter how long and tedious they are to the eyes, are your best allies should any legal problems arise in the midst of the transaction. It is best to be well-prepared for possible risks and difficulties which investing in online antique auctions entail.

Ratings are also good ways to gauge how good a website is when it comes to marketing your antiques. Be wary also of deceptive bidders who are not really bent on buying your antique. Frequently shortlist and evaluate your available bid lists, so that you will not be piled up in time and to give ample time to evaluate each bid carefully and meticulously.

Communication with companies is also important when it comes to making the sale. Contact the concerned credit card companies regarding the account of the person involved in your sale, and get as much background check as legally possible. It is not enough that you know yourself and what you want in the business. It is equally important to know who you are doing business with and what specific terms is he or she willing to agree to.

Always, always check validity of each message. Do not allow identity theft to victimize you and put your entire life on a leash. Be very careful of your personal information. Do not just divulge them to anybody. Screen your email messages carefully. And do not allow any third party to have access to your business accounts online. If it's possible, access only a single PC with which you do all your business transactions. This way, there will be no accidental leakage with multiple users who are able to tamper with your business files with a single click.

It will also do you a lot of good if you study the style of many good online antique auction sellers and bidders. Observe from a distance and see what makes good sellers sell well and secure their earnings amidst the very competitive nature of the online business.

And in any transaction, never make an impulsive decision. At the very least, give yourself at least an entire day before you concretize any decision.

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Antique Books. Worth the Reading

An antique book is more than a collection of pages by your favorite author. It is a piece of history, a glimpse into the past. One in which the binding was done by hand the paper often likewise and if far back enough in time, the pen was a quill.

There are many factors which influence the value of an antique book, as in all antiques. First there is the condition of the book. The binding, the pages, whether dog-eared or torn, or God forbid, missing. The pages may have notes written on them. (Which can often be valuable in themselves if penned by a famous person or under unusual circumstances) or they may be damaged or stained or any number of factors which will affect their desirability. In the same way if a book is signed by it's author this usually increases it's price, although in the modern world not necessarily as "book signings" are all too common as a marketing tool and have helped to downplay the importance of a signed edition. All of these factors contribute to the overall value of your antique book.

The overall availability is a factor in price but is not necessarily the main factor as a book may be hard to find but not desirable. In other words it may be rare but nobody wants it! Confusing? Yes it can be. It is prudent to consult a dealer to appraise your antique book whether for insurance purposes or because you are attempting to sell it. In the final analysis, antiques are always only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

Appraisals Dealers usually need to see the book itself in order to identify and appraise it. You may submit photographs if you cannot see the dealer in person due to distance or time. They will require usually a photograph of the title page, the back side of the title page (also called the copyright page), the first and last pages of text, and the outer covers and spine in order to evaluate an individual copy. It is best to have very close up, quality photographs if you must go this route. If you are not proficient with a digital camera, ask one of your friends to do it for you. The popularity of digital cameras today makes quality photos easy to accomplish. Do not try and photocopy the book! This produces very poor results and may in fact damage the book due to the pressure exerted upon the spine in this process.

You often hear the phrase "first edition" in reference to books and this can influence the price of the book if there were, in fact more than one edition! Many times there were not. Be careful when someone touts the first edition status of an antique book and attempt to determine for yourself if there were indeed subsequent editions. Again remember to use all of the resources online and elsewhere to obtain valuable and often free information on your antique book. There are several national societies of book dealers, "antiquarians" and of course appraisers that you may take advantage of in the search for information. There are also book collecting societies that you may investigate. Take your time and learn all you can before you buy or sell your antique book.