Chinese antiques, especially porcelain dishware and furniture, are some of the most valuable, sought after antiques in the world. If you’re new to world of Chinese antique collecting, you’ll want to be able to identify Chinese antiques and distinguish them from reproductions and fakes. The ability to identify Chinese antiques is not a skill you can develop overnight, and it often takes years to acquire the necessary knowledge to do so. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to get you started.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Chinese antiques expert
Contact a Chinese antiques expert in your area. The best place to find one is at your local art or furniture museum. If the museum has any significant collection of Chinese antiques, there’s a good chance you’ll find an expert in the field there. If not, the museum can usually point you in the direction of the expert whom they use for consultations. Many museums offer special days each month when antiques dealers and individual collectors can consult with the museum expert for free, or for a small fee.
Learn as much as you can about Chinese antiques through trained experts, books, antiques dealers, and online resources. Sign up for continuing education classes, and take a tour of the Chinese wing at your local museum.
Focus your learning on the specific types of antiques that interest you, whether it’s China dolls, antique statuettes, or porcelain. Ask lots of questions and develop a method for inspecting potential antiques, and identifying certain markings or features that indicate antiqueness. Each type of antique is a little different, and different things indicate whether or not the antique is real. Often the manufacturer signature is a sign of authenticity, but not always. Sometimes the type of material used is a sign that something is a Chinese antique. The differences between reproductions and antiques can be subtle, so learn how to distinguish them accurately.
Invite a specialist or expert to go antique shopping with you, and practice your identification skills at the shops. You’ll begin to fine-tune your antiques identifying methods by trial and error, and by listening to the advice of experts.
Establish a list of reputable and recommended antiques dealers in your area from which you can buy antiques. If you know that the dealer is trustworthy, and knows what he is doing, your job will be that much easier.
Tips and warnings
- The Internet is a valuable and free resource to use to your advantage. Check out the websites of Sotheby’s, Brimfield Exchange, and Antiques Road Show for info on identifying all sorts of antiques.
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