My Early History with Chinese Porcelain | Antique & Art Exchange

My Early History with Chinese Porcelain

I had spent most of 1988 wandering around the world. Several of these months were spent in mainland China. The industry and determination was unlike anything I had seen before. I believed China would want their antiques back and be glad to pay. In 1989 I came to live in San Francisco and work for an English antiques dealer that also sold Asian porcelain. It was a short time later when I, too, began collecting Chinese porcelains, particularly monochromes (solid colors). Gumps, the luxury goods store, had been selling Asian art along with many other wonderful things for over 100 years at that point. China Town had several reliable antique dealers for at least that long. My point is that it was not so difficult to find a wonderful old piece of Chinese Porcelain in the late 1980’s in San Francisco. During this period, I was also fortunate to befriend the retired director of the Asian Art Museum, Clarence Shangraw. In pretty short order, drawing on his expertise and the availability of these treasures, I had accumulated a nice collection. A short time later the prices started shooting up. Today a piece that used to be worth about 2000 can be worth hundreds of thousands. Occasionally these pieces will bring prices so high that they are beyond belief. And here is the punchline: I had completely sold the collection at what I thought was a great profit by 1996. You can’t win them all.

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