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Bidamount Partnering with Ebay on Authenticating Service of Asian Art
Thanks Peter, I really like that feature. Imagine that button under each item in Ebay's antique Chinese porcelain category, even at those from notorious fake sellers! I think in the long run it might help to diminsh the amount of offered fakes, because some buyers might have the clever idea to ask before they buy. I had never thought Ebay would react so reasonable to the eternal trouble with Chinese fakes.
Its a good idea, provided you can provide an accurate view for $10 from a photograph.
I'm often sent photos for an opinion. I can respond with what its supposed to be, but in most cases I can't go beyond that with confidence without seeing it in person. You certainly need high magnification photographs to be able to see into the glaze - the kind of photos you do not find on ebay. These days, Chinese fakers are so good, they make up significant parts of major auction house catalogues. You need to examine the tactile feel of the glaze and any exposed porcelain, and microscopically examine the various features of the subject item - from the shape of the tip of the tool used to carve jade, etc etc etc. These options are not available to those trying to make an assessment of authenticity from ebay photographs.
These $10 online opinions have been around for a long time.
A number of years ago I sold on ebay, a Chinese painting by a well known artist. I bought it at an estate sale in Vancouver because it was an item of quality - without being able to read any of the calligraphy, or having any idea who the artist was.
After sometime, I decided I probably would never find a place to hang it, so put it on ebay. A Chinese fellow living in Switzerland bought it for a couple of hundred dollars. Two or three days later he told me he had sent my ebay photos to a $10 ish authentication service in China, and been told it was not an authentic example by the artist, because the brush strokes were too light.
I took the opportunity to ask who the artist was, and what else was written next to the image. At which point he told me the artist's name, and said the other text said it had been painted as a gift when he visited Vancouver, and gave the date.
I allowed the buyer to cancel his purchase.
Not long after, I discovered my computer monitor was on the way out. It turn out my monitor was much darker than it should have been. As a result, when I took photos of items for ebay, and downloaded them to my computer to crop the edges, they seemed much too dark compared the the actual item, so I lightened them until they matched the item before me. However what looked right at my end, looked over brightened to everyone else! This of course, made my photos of the above painting, look like the brush strokes were much lighter than they were.
The $10 evaluation didn't consider if my photos were too bright. Instead it just assumed my photos were accurate, and the item was not authentic.
As it turned out, the item was far more valuable than I had suspected, and the writing about it being painted in Vancouver, when the artist was known to have visited the city, and his friendship with the other person mentioned, all cemented its authenticity.
Thanks to that $10 ebay photo evaluation, a knowledgeable buyer who discovered a valuable treasure on ebay, was convinced it was a fake, and backed out of his purchase. It worked out well for me - but that buyer would have been much better off if he had not deferred his judgement to a $10 internet opinion based on highly over exposed photographs.
This is obviously a good idea but I also believe that the seller should receive a note that an opinion has been sought on their item and also a copy of that opinion.
Otherwise a piece could be deemed fake without the seller having a right of reply.
Also,are there not Legal ramifications for both EBay and yourselves should a person purchase an item deemed genuine and then take it to Christie's or Sothebys and have it declared fake ?
It seems a big risk to take by both yourself and EBay for $10.
Hi Peter -
I do not sell or bye via eBay personally, but I understand that many on this Forum do and I hope this good idea is of some help.
Personally, I would echo Avionsunantiuues comments in regard to images. Any photo, no matter how good is, at best, highly subjective and much depends on the optic technology used and then how and what it is viewed through ...
Vic also makes a very good point with regard to the possible legal implications in respect to this feature ...
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The BidAmount Asian Art Forum | Chinese Art
A free Asian art discussion board and Asian art message board for dealers and collectors of art and antiques from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the rest of Asia. Linked to all of the BidAmount Asian art reference areas, with videos from plcombs Asian Art and Bidamount on YouTube. Sign up also for the weekly BidAmount newsletter and catalogs of active eBay listing of Chinese porcelain, bronze, jades, robes, and paintings.
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