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Help on bargain hunting in China

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you in the hope of finding some info on Qing Dynasty Porcelain. I am from the US, and are now living in Tianjin. I recently went to Beijing on a day trip and went shopping. I found a street market that sold nick-nacks and some really nice antiques. One place was dedicated to Qing Porcelain. Now, I am trying to find out if this stuff is real or not.

The women told me, and showed me the marks on the porcelain, and said it was all registered with the Govt. Some had a wax seal on the bottom, which she said indicated it was real. She also said with each piece sold, you also get a Govt. certificate indicating it was real. Is any of this true? Is there a sure way a novice like me can tell if this is real stuff?

Some of the prices seemed really good. One piece sold for 580 RMB, which is around $75 US. Is this the right price for these items? Thanks for your help.

Tourist's sales talk

My best advice is that you spend some time at my site where you could pick up a lot of information regarding both genuine pieces and fakes.

Most of what the lady seems to have told you are tourist's sales talk.

The wax seal are there to indicate that the piece have a government permit to be exported - this most often also means that the piece is deemed to be less than 100 years old or so common as to have no historical value to the "relics bureau".

Your chances of buying anything real in China as a novice are slim, to be quite frank. I have had a really hard time finding something real by sifting through tons of pieces in China together with some of the best experts in the world.

Regarding prices, you can expect any genuine piece to be more expensive in China, than in the West.

Regarding the suggested $ 75 price I would like to mention that the going wholesale price for modern good quality fakes in China are US $ 30, so there might be room for some price negotiations.

Thank you for your interest.

Best regards,
Jan-Erik Nilsson