The Chinese Art – Antique Market Prices Today

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Chinese Art - Antique Market Prices, A Period of Tansition

"The Chinese Art - Antique Market Prices Today, have they peaked?"

This is a question we've heard a lot over the last few years, in particular in the last 10 months.  The answer is not quite so simple, it's both yes and no for a variety of reasons. If you currently own Chinese antiques either through your own collecting efforts or by inheritance, I'll try and explain where things stand currently. 

First, A Brief Look Back At The Last 25 Years

Starting around 1990, as the personal wealth of Chinese citizens began to rise due to global trade many began buying examples of their own material culture for their homes. Many have since gone so far to build their own private and public museums to share and showcase their acquisitions. 

The obvious consequence has been a rapid rise in prices across the board for Chinese art and antiques on the global market. This was particularly noticeable from 2000 to 2012. During this period it seemed almost every week somewhere in the world a headline appeared of one kind or another regarding a NEW record auction price for an object. This news created waves of additional market excitement, in particular among Chinese mainland buyers resulting in even higher prices. Around 2012, prices began to cool a little, with the exception of the greatest rarities. Since then, they've "cooled" a bit. 

Why The Change? Four reasons.
  1. Market saturation, new buyers are fewer and far between.
  2. China's economic slowdown.
  3. Collector selectivity, remaining buyers became more careful and more sophisticated.
  4.  Over Supply, remaining objects around world, with the exception of the BEST pieces, are more plentiful than previously thought. Short and long term collectors began adding to the market supply to either "cash out" or to raise funds to upgrade. 

Is the Party Over? The Good News Is YES

Those of us who've been in the business for many decades knew and understand what was inevitable and has finally happened. Chinese art - antique prices have leveled off. Not only have they leveled off, but have declined gently in many areas. 

In my opinion, it's long overdue and is good for the market. Overheated markets, when they correct can result in a total collapse. Just ask anyone who collected American furniture during the 1980's and 1990's, the values have in the last 15 years plummeted by 75 to 90%.  It was also a VERY hot market, today Americana is as dead as a wet stump. 

So, be glad you're not on a runaway price train which could totally disintegrate.

More Good News, Chinese Art - Antique Market Prices Today

If you're still in possession of some fine Chinese porcelain, bronzes, jades, paintings and other objects, you're pretty much sitting on top of the market. Yes, some prices have retreated a bit but its not a catastrophic drop, just a little bit.

Prices aren't likely to resume the crazy increases we saw again anytime soon, if ever, but the market has begun it's maturation process. This will create a stable steady market for future buyers and sellers. 

The other good news is, today, more than ever before are so many options for both buying and SELLING a single piece or a collection. Where and how you buy or sell today can be tailored depending on what it is you're dealing with. The only limitation is for collectors, and it's a minor one, you cannot BUY in mainland China and take the item out of the country legally. 

In closing as my kids and grandchildren say, "Its all good."  Chinese Art - antique market prices today are healthy! They will remain this way for a good long time. 

If you need help, advice or guidance in buying or selling a collection or single item, let us know. 

Chinese Art - Antique Market Prices Today
Fine 19th C. Jadeite Carvngs from a North Shore estate.
Yongzheng blue and white plate
Yongzheng Blue and White Chinese plate (detail)
wei bronze
Wei Dynasty Bronze
Kangxi Famille Verte vase
Kangxi Famille Verte vase, Circa 1700
Beijing Imperial Palace, 1901
Beijing Imperial Palace, 1901