Most Antiques Listed Ebay under Chinese Antiques Are Copies, Fakes or Just Junk

  • Their ARE Great Things TOO! Really Great!  
Within the "Trade" it's been no secret for a very long time that 90% of the Chinese porcelain, jade carvings, as well as bronzes listed on EBAY are either modern fakes or are being sold with blatantly incorrect statements of age.  Yes 90% exaggeration. If they are being sold by dealers in Mainland China the number is pretty much 100% fake.

So, out of the 90,000 plus active listings on Ebay listed under Asian Antiques-China, all but maybe a few thousand of them are modern knock offs made in China under the watchful and supportive eye of the Chinese government.

  • FACTOID: The mainland Chinese Government actually subsidizes the Fake Chinese Art industry. Its no secret, its regrettably just the way it is. They do it just as they do with designer jeans, handbags and I-Phones. 

The fakes are often offered right out of China and the rest are being sold by ill-informed or simply dishonest sellers around the world including the United States who have sources in China for goods.
  • FACTOID: Under Chinese Law it is Illegal to export from Mainland China objects made prior to 1911, unless it has been deemed virtually worthless and is wax stamped for export. Wax seals are no proof of age and can be found on NEW pieces. 
What To Do? 
What listings to Avoid ALL of the TIME, 100% of the Time 
The first thing to understand is, many dealers in China have learned having a seller's Address on the "Item location:CHINA, China" or "Item location: Shanghai, China" is the kiss of death. As aconsequence many of the FAKERS have opted to work with sellers in the USA or Canada which then results in a US or Canadian listing location. If you see a listing stating "all items are warehoused in the United States" or anything like it, run for your life...
Fake Ming Doucai vase, On Ebay for $20 Million
Knowing Your Competition On Ebay, They Are Professionals
If you're shopping on Ebay to find bargain basement deals on rare Chinese things, forget it.

Smart, well informed dealers and long term collectors will make sure it doesn't happen virtually all of the time. If you think you've bought an "Imperial Qianlong Vase" for a few hundred dollars, you haven't, you bought a copy. I can assure you of this with pretty much 100% certainty. A Pro can spot the real stuff a mile away..and they DO check Ebay regularly day and night and will pay more than you.

Around the world are thousands of people sitting at computers filtering every single NEW listing on
Fake Song Dynasty jade, On Ebay for $12,000
Ebay, Live Auctioneers and hundreds of auction houses constantly, 24/7. Often high end dealers will have legions of workers doing it for them, flagging anything that looks good for their employers to look at. They do it because on occasion some excellent material does appear and its well worth the cost to be forever checking.
Ebay is a VERY Price Efficient Market, Which is Good and Bad
Every knowledgeable and experienced Asian Art dealer on Ebay has had this experience many times, including myself. After starting an "auction listing" for a terrific piece, within minutes to an hour comes a flood of requests for a "Buy It Now" price in your "My Message's" box.

  • A friend of mine recently put up a listing and within one hour had multiple offers above $50,000. He did the smart thing, he pulled it and gave it to Christie's in NY with an auction estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It will probably bring $125,000 to $150,000. Most "Buy It Now" OFFERS made are below the piece's actual value and it's rarely a good idea to sell it for that price. 
  • A month ago we listed a rather nice Tea Dust Glaze late 19th C. Guangxu mark and period vase
    REAL Ming Transitional Period Wucai Jar,
    Sold for $5,000 on Ebay
    from a local estate under the auction format, with a starting price of just $9.99. Within 24 hours we had multiple "Offers" ranging from $4,000 to $9,000. We let the auction run it's course, the vase sold for over $12,400. The offers were obviously low-ball numbers. 
The web makes Ebay very efficient, 24/7. So finding Santa Claus on Ebay is a tough road to hoe. So, if it happens once every couple years, that's great, but until you know what you're really doing save your money and buy the real stuff.

The flip side of Ebay's price efficiency is good for newbie and intermediate collectors, you're not likely to overpay too much at anytime, because so many knowledgeable buyers are on there and they KNOW what to pay.
So You Think You're Smarter Than The Fakers?
Well, unless you're a long term Chinese porcelain, jade or bronze dealer or collector..You're Not Smarter..You are road kill looking for a bumper ..The reality is, if you don't really KNOW the difference between superb fakes and authentic items, nothing in a Blog can help you, I can only give you some good advice.
REAL Late Ming Blue and White Jar,
Sold for $5,400 on Ebay

Spending a few afternoons browsing a museum or local antique shops who have a few Chinese Export items won't teach you much of anything. The reasons are simple, you just don't know what you're looking at and neither do 99% of the antiques dealers out there. While most museums do a good job of identifying things, what you're going to see in a good museum is extremely unlikely to present itself to you as "beginner's luck" while on Ebay or in an Antique Store. 
  • We can  guide you to some excellent Ebay sellers. So READ ON! They do Exist!
Knowing More Than The Fakers

What it takes to know the difference is decades of study, handling tens of thousands of pieces, spending $20,000 to $75,000 on books, going to superb museums over and over and previewing dozens of auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's.  Their is no short cut, no matter how smart you think you're not smart enough. Its a multi billion dollar business.

  • FACTOID: Most makers in China of FAKES are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to Authentic Chinese objects. They DO know what pieces should look like including; decoration, colors, forms-shapes, proper sizes, proportions, glazes and marks.  

Over the years, I've seen some of the smartest folks around spend small fortunes on fakes and on occasions some pretty larges fortunes, hundreds of thousands of dollars on worthless junk.  They've bought so many fakes they think the real stuff is fake and that the fakes are REAL.

These include Doctors, Lawyers, Scientists, Tech Wizards all the way to professors at Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and other "Ivy League" institutions. They are after all accustomed to being the smartest guy in the room within their own professions and forget how long it took to know what they know.

Many smart people wrongly assume and believe.."how hard can it be to spot rare Chinese vases?" The chances are it's as hard or harder than what they do for a living.

  • FACTOID: Fraud and Deception is always so hard to spot, just ask Bernie Madof's victims. Most were smart savvy investors....but not smart enough for a Pro, they didn't have a clue until it was over.  The same holds true for the art world, only on steroids. Hundreds of Museums including the Metropolitan in New York and the Louvre in Paris have fallen victims to art fraud. 

How To Contact Us..for help finding PERIOD Chinese Objects

So the question obviously becomes how do you tell the difference between real and reproduction? The short answer is, "its not always easy".  The long answer? Buy from reputable dealers on the mega site and yes they certainly DO exist.

Finding Good Asian Antique Dealers on Ebay, This Is How. 
Unless you're prepared to spend hours trying to figure out who is good and who isn't, do what the pros do. Go straight to the dealers who have, year after year been selling successfully on the Ebay and have really established themselves for being straight forward, knowledgeable and honest.  

  • FACTOID: Many of these sellers also have nice galleries, once you've done a little business with them they will likely want to do some business with you for things they will never be putting on Ebay. It can be an opportunity to acquire some great things. 
Have you ever used the Ebay affiliate site 
Here are some links to the site linking directly into Ebay pre-loaded with ONLY proven well known sellers. Many are in the USA as well as Great Britain, the Netherlands and France. They are overall a good group of dealers and nearly always have things online.

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