Appraising Chinese and Asian Art, Requires a Specialist, not a Generalist

As regular part of settling an estate or for getting insurance coverage one requirement is getting a written appraisal which accurately describes the tangible property with their proper values based on the current market.  

For the typical contents of a house with western antiques an appraiser is just a call away, virtually any competent Estate Lawyer or local Bank Trust Department can help you. 

When it comes to Chinese and other types of antiques, its a different issue, very different. 

Chinese and Asian Antiques Are A Special Category ...

If you are in need of knowing how much your Chinese objects are worth and whats the best way to sell for any reason, give us a call. 

  • Often evaluations are sought by people who simply have things they've bought or inherited over the years and want to know their values. 

    Appraisal Chinese porcelain

    Ming Period Gilt Bronze with Base Mark


  • FREE Verbal Appraisals. We will gladly give you a verbal appraisal for no charge, we do it all the time. Call for an appointment or Email us some pictures with good clear views including the bottom and top, please include dimensions and note any condition issues, they do effect value. 

  • Fine Porcelains, Jades and other Chinese Works of Decorative Art have appreciated more in value during the last 20 years than any other tangible asset including; gold, real estate, rare gem stones, American and European paintings . 

The Typical Local Antiques Appraiser Cannot Beneficially Help You

Experienced antique or fine art dealers and auctioneers can handle the typical appraisal consisting of American or European: furniture, paintings, silver, decorative art, lamps, porcelain etc...with little problem.

However when it comes to Asian antiques and art, its virtually impossible for the average  experienced appraiser to do an appraisal with any accuracy. It requires an understanding of an entirely different culture, history and artistic evolution over several thousand years. Which is why on the PBS Roadshow they have only a couple of specialists able to do the job, while they have many dozens handling jewelry, fine art, furniture and decorative arts.

Estate of Chinese Art
Why so few Dealers and Appraisers know nearly nothing about Asian antiques is pretty simple, learning about them is very tough, time consuming and the opportunity to learn about them doesn't happen often enough , especially when compared to typical western antiques and art do.

Why Asian Art and Antiques Are Different 


The difficulty with Asian works of art and antiques is hiring someone who is able to identify the age, verify authenticity, determine the rarity.  You need someone who knows Asian history and has handled thousands of pieces over many years.  Someone who knows why the decorative arts of 19th C. Asian antiques are the direct result of the culmination of cultures whose written language and earliest known art dates back 20,000 years.


Determining periods and values for Chinese porcelains, bronzes, paintings, silk robes, jades and textiles are likely the most difficult  arena of all tangible property to do for an estate or insurance coverage.  An appraiser without a significant understanding and experience can quickly become a real problem as rarities will simply be overlooked or severely undervalued.


Does Your Appraiser Know What he or she NEEDS To? How about some bare bones basics? Such as...


Value of Blanc de chine Statue

Blanc de Chine Statue, 18th C. 25 Inches Tall

Whats the history of Famille Rose? Famille Noire? Famille verte? Doucai? Is the mark authentic? Why doesn't it have a mark? Does the mark mean anything? Is it porcelain or proto-porcelain? What came first Sui or Yuan? Was the item made for another country? Is it Imperial? Why does the scroll have so many seal marks on it? How do you date the age of a vase by looking at the bottom that's UN-marked? Why does a bronze made in the Qing dynasty have a Ming Xuande mark on it? Does a cracked vase mean its now nearly worthless? When did the Chinese start using Iron? How many people lived in the Imperial Palace? Whats a Rank? What is the difference between 15th C. underglaze blue and 18th C. underglaze blue? Who was Kangxi, Qianlong? What on earth is Ru ware? What Chinese Empire was founded by the Mongols? What is Kaolin? Where did Cobalt come from for making the first blue and white porcelain? What does Mingyao mean? What city produced the majority of all porcelain produced in China? Where is the National Palace Museum collection kept? How are bronzes cast?  Whats a dragon kiln? Who was Empress Cixi?

The above are a very few of the most basic minimums, but no where near all of it..

Chinese Painting Appraisal

Song Dynasty Pen and Ink Landscape


Chinese Jade from New England Estate

Qianlong Period Nephrite Jade Incense Burner, 18th C.


 Other Issues and Misconceptions 

Adding to the difficulty in determining authenticity and age are rarity and value issues.

Just because something is from the Ming dynasty, despite the impression many have hearing the word Ming, it may just be the piece made in 1910 is worth ten times as much and is in fact more desirable to a collector resulting in higher values The same holds true for every other category and medium as well. You of course have the other scenario where exceptional examples from the earliest periods are worth well into the millions of dollars today. Many of these high flyers are no larger than a Coco Cola bottle and may appear to a westerner "very plain"..

Evaluating Asian works of art improperly can be a very expensive exercise...and most likely you'll never know it happened.

How we at plcombs Asian Art Can Help


If you're an attorney, an executor or an heir and need an appraisal, or a referral to an expert in your area, let us know, get in touch . If you're simply not sure what you need, call us...for over 30 years we've been appraising, dealing and and advising owners and attorneys about Asian antique collections and individual objects.  We do appraisals but we also know where you can go to get answers and solid help regardless of where you happen to be. Its a small world..

Thank you for visiting! Browse the rest of this site for more information and get in touch with us for more help..





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