Finding Real Antique Chinese Porcelain on eBay can be a Challenge
It's no secret the antique Chinese porcelain market has been on fire for the last 15 or 20 years with prices rising it seems almost each week. It's also no secret, unless you've been under a rock near the Arctic Circle, to meet this demand the making of superb reproductions have risen to an art form of it's own. No where is this more evident than on the worlds largest auction website eBay. Knowing how and where to find Chinese antiques on eBay is half the battle, but getting half way there quickly is pretty good, we can get you all the way there.
Is it eBay's fault? No, eBay is the messenger, shooting the messenger is never fair. I do wish they would hire a few savy dealers though to help thin it out a bit. (I digress) With all of that in mind, back to the purpose of this post...Finding real antique Chinese porcelain on eBay can be a challenge, however it is all there and lots of it. Our business is helping you find them as well as promoting sellers we think are professional and knowledgeable.
Chinese Porcelain Dealers on eBay, where they come from
Now for the very good news. Throughout the world, ♦excluding all of Mainland China, knowledgeable antique dealers with varying specialized knowledge about Chinese porcelain, ranging from a good working understanding to those with vast experience in the field all sell on eBay. Many are former-retired employees of major auction houses or well known regional auctions houses who have gone out on their own. Some are lifelong collectors who've turned an avocation into a part time occupation. Many more are collectors selling off parts of collections to downsize a lifestyle and to supplement income. Still many more have any number of combinations of all of the above or are just career dealers who've focused almost solely on Chinese antiques.
On eBay the best Chinese porcelain and Asian art dealers are located primarily in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union. This is NOT to say some sellers in these locations are not selling copies intentionally to deceive eBay members. At some point we may do a post listing a few of the most notorious.
From this pool of sellers come some very fine listings of antique Chinese porcelain on eBay from around the globe. Some sell on a weekly basis, some do one auction every month of a few dozen things and others do three to five huge 250 or more lot auctions each year. At any given time out of the estimated 166,000 items listed as Chinese Antiques on eBay around 3% of them are authentic and really worth looking at. Many of them are really superb examples and equal to those being sold at major auction houses.
♦NOTE: Above I said excluding all of mainland China, it is illegal under Chinese law to sell and export Chinese antiques to buyer's outside of the country. So, if you're thinking of buying an ANTIQUE from Mainland Chinese eBay sellers, rest assured it is a fake.
A Video of 237 Selections of Period Chinese Porcelains and Pottery, for dating and authenticating Song, Ming and Qing examples
The Big Auction House Myth, Why Smart Dealers Sell on eBay
The big auction house myth says: "if the piece is really good it would be getting sold at Sotheby's or Christie's, NOT eBay".
- The major auction houses in most situations get no more, if not less for Chinese antiques valued under $50,000 (99% of the market) than folks get on eBay for the same items.
- Smaller local and regional auction houses are where many eBay sellers do much if not most of their buying.
- The major auction houses do great with Chinese porcelain valued over $125,000 (but you pay dearly for it), below that it's a toss up down to the $50,000 level.
eBay Charges a lot less, they have a 10% commission up to a maximum of $750 on any item and charge 2% to 2.9% for Pay Pal.
Sotheby's and Christie's charge a combined buyer and seller commission of around 33% to 40%, plus an additional 1.5% for insurance and another $400 to $900 for photos. Oh, if it doesn't sell for some reason you pay a Buy-in Fee, based on the amount of the last bid.
- The big auction houses also have a 3 to 6 month lead time on consignments and pay consignors 45 days after the auction.
Nuff said...the math works better on eBay...
Now, Finding Real Antique Chinese Porcelain on eBay, it might surprise you to see how much is there..every week.
How NOT to find real Antique Chinese Porcelain on eBay
While many sellers on eBay use terms like Kangxi, Yongzheng, "mark and period", Wanli etc..most of the time they honestly don't know how wrong they are..they looked in a book, did a little poking online and put together a listing. I've lost track of how many thousands of Japanese plates I've seen listed as Chinese Imari or as Imperial Chinese... Which is why doing TERMINOLOGY or DESCRIPTIVE searches on the site is often nearly worthless.
How TO Find Antique Chinese Porcelain on eBay
Rule 1 DO your shopping based on who the Sellers are...not the descriptions and pictures. Unless you are very knowledgeable, seller based searches are nearly always your best method.
Rule 2 Use THIS site, check with the sellers listed here and see what they are offering, they are here because they are (we think) good dealers.
Below are images of thing that have been sold, mostly without any RESERVES or with starting prices under $25. Nearly all of the items shown were featured either on this site or were included in our weekly NewsLetter-Watchlist while they were actively listed . Any names included with the pictures are the seller's eBay user names.
Click to enlarge any image for a better look. You might just be surprised at what you find.