Check out the current state of our Chinese and Japanese collection!

Here are some of our newer additions to our small collection! A lot of things have sold in the past year. The market for Japanese antiques seem to be growing stronger, which is great!

All of the items featured were purchased in the last year with the exception of one.


This open metalwork brush pot was a great little find. The Guan Yin figure sets it apart from a standard metalwork and it’s likely a copy of an older piece due to its apocryphal mark.

A very interesting small trinket box from early 20th century China.

Vintage wedding basket found in the US.

Still an anchor of my collection, these small cloisonne vases are a stunning looker.


This is one of my finer Japanese antiques that we have in the collection. Late Japanese Meiji period cloisonne urn.


Thanks for looking!! 🙂

Imari was a surprise from 2017.

I wouldn’t have guessed but now that I have the data, Imari surprised me with its return-rate from 2017 investments.

Antique Japanese porcelain is selling. Despite being a tricky market, it’s more accessible than Chinese antiques and isn’t as boom and bust for the curious collector. Of course, Chinese porcelain is still the most expensive despite its market cooling a tad but the Imari market is not as weak as it had been in recent years. If there is a recovering interest in the Japanese visual aesthetic from the imperial periods, I’m all for it! This also means it might be time to invest more in antique Imari porcelain.

The stuff I bought in the last year did well. Very well now that I think about it. It’s not easy to find and I did have to spend more than pennies to get some really nice pieces but they returned quite well as larger investments. Atypical blue and white seems to be the best seller.

Imari-ware is more accessible than a lot of Chinese porcelain for a few reasons. It’s easier to tell real from fake. (There are also less fakes) The designs tend towards a better fit with where current design is and is heading. The entry price for purchase is much lower, even at the high-end. There is also less of it scooped up into major collections than other porcelain.

I’ll keep y’all updated on whether this trend continues through 2018!




Work keeping me so busy!

Work has kept me busy busy recently. I’ve had enough time to keep up with updating my collection and its sale but I really haven’t had enough time to keep up on my blogging. I swear I’ll get better! I hope. Haha.

Rare find: Late 18th / Early 19th Century Export China – Canton Export Porcelain

Well, here it is. It isn’t come too often that I come across things that I’m explicitly researching. It makes me wonder how long I’ll have to wait before I see something like this at this price again. A lot of research work remains to identify the order but this is something very special.


This is a beautiful small bowl from a larger service that I picked up recently. Because it was unidentified and damaged, it went a lot lower than something like this has any business being priced. There are deals to be had if you look!

How does one identify these? Well, with experience the eye begins to notice things. For the form, fineness of the porcelain and other features, I’d guess it’s somewhere between 1770-1820. With the crest on the front, this would have been a special order placed and then fulfilled by the old porcelain factories in and around Canton.

I’ve yet to make out the letters on the shield, but I’ll get there! There certainly does seem to be a coat of arms or family crest present but I’ve not seen any reference to a two-dove crest. We’ll see. Time and research will tell on that front.


I’ve been listening to some antiques podcasts recently that discuss antiques with esteemed collectors and one of the things that stood out was the recommendation to buy things that were damaged if they were rare enough. I believe this piece qualifies. Time will tell.

How badly was it broken? Bad. Somebody full on shattered this guy and it had to be put back together.


This is also a sign, though. It is likely that a piece of fine china worth repairing is a valuable one. I’d imagine the repair happened sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century but I’m not an expert on repair evaluations.

That’s the cool new addition to my collection! I’ll update once I’ve discovered the identity of the order. Now you know what a good chunk of my free time will be devoted towards! See you in the library.

Busy busy busy!

Well, it’s getting closer to winter so the seasonal work has been real strong. Don’t worry! I haven’t been avoiding antiques, I just haven’t had the time to post about them. I’ve actually added some amazing things to my collection in the past few weeks. Sales have been really generous and I’ve found some awesome artwork that, once verified, should be properly valued at or above five hundo! Woo. Perks.

I think this week I’m gonna go pickup a special book that I’ve had my eye on for a while. A decent piece has left my collection so it’s time to add a more expensive one! 😀 We’ll see if it’s still there – usually the stuff I buy doesn’t get bought by other people.

Busy busy.

Well, it’s getting to that time of year. The sales are slowing down and my job is starting to pickup with the school-year. I wasn’t sure what I’d end up doing with this site when I started it. I had sort of hoped I’d use this chance to open a retail outlet but I’m just not ready for that and with less and less time, oh well. Maybe next fall! We’ll see. That doesn’t mean I am going to stop blogging about collecting! I hope to do more of that than ever.

What I’m reading and Amazon affiliate.

Hey everyone!

Since I’m getting more and more into this whole internet collection sharing thing, I’ve signed up for amazon affiliate. Cool, huh? It makes it far easier for me to reference and share what I’m reading with you! And if for whatever reason you need the book, you can buy it through me and help offset the costs of running my site!

So this is a test post. Apparently the wordpress engine and amazon referral are not working together well. I’m going to add a couple different links to a book I’m reading now to see how they look. Anyone with feedback on the subject, i.e. how they’ve been successful in referring people or anything really, let me know!

The book is Chinese Export Porcelain in the 19th Century: The Canton Famille Rose Porcelains from the Alma Cleveland Porter collection in the Peabody Museum of Salem.


Mottahedeh pickup recently.

Have been loving porcelain more and more these days. It’s a great time to be collecting porcelain as the prices are extremely wonky. Most shops cannot sell their inventory at the prices they deserve to fetch. This means there’s great bargains to be found!

Last week, I picked up this early to mid 20th century Mottahedeh plate diplomatic service export china plate. Mottahedeh Co. started in the early 20th century and is a sort of national pottery co for American luxury pieces. They make museum pieces, government pieces and more. Here is the clam shell piece that I picked up:

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These wares were made through the 20th century and Mottahedeh is a luxury brand still producing today. They have one outlet in the metro, I should go checkout their current prices! I bet they’re sky high. Markets are weird. Anyway, this clamshell dish features the old style eagle reminiscent of the 19th century export porcelain that the U.S. was ordering from China. I have seen a similar pattern in a famous collection from the 40s. Person I bought from had identified as a 1910 pattern.

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It was pretty cool to find this. I had just been working on my understanding of porcelain and learned about these types of wares a few weeks back. Stumbling upon it was quite the day! I don’t see diplomatic service ware too often. I did see another piece at a nice antique mall in St. Paul. Maybe I’ll go back for it if I find a new home for this one. For now, it’s a cool piece of my collection. 🙂

A pair of mysterious cloisonne.

Earlier I wrote about my trip through Chicago and some of the wonderful things that I picked up down there. One of the truly spectacular pieces that I found at an estate were these Chinese cloisonne. They were quite the mystery when I found them. A good mystery, One that I was quite happy to come upon. Here are some pictures and then I’ll start to break down what there is to interpret from the pieces.


Late Qing Dynasty Chinese Fish and Heron Cloisonne Vases

At first glance, I was stunned by their beauty and shape. They were inexpensively priced, so it wasn’t a hard decision. When you shop a lot and collect a lot, you tend to not inspect cheap things so thoroughly at free for all sales. Here are some more photos to get a better idea of the imagery in your head.


Side view

They are decorated top to bottom. In fact, when I was carrying them one time I realized that the entire shape is a fish. That’s where I’ll start, somebody has made this in what I would consider a cheeky manner. If you count the form itself, there are six fish on each face of the cloisonne. There are the two at the top, then there’s another pair underneath the wave and the one being grabbed by the heron. I’m not 100% certain about the species of the fish but I suspect that it is a type of carp native to East Asia and some of China. They could be different species – the artisan has used different colors to represent the same parts of their bodies between them. I.e. one has a blue tailfin when the other has a red tailfin. It could be a decorative difference but it’s good to note.

The bird is native to East Asia. It is a red-crowned crane, one of the rarer cranes. Both the crane and the fish are frequently used as symbols of good fortune, which would make sense with their combination here. I believe the flower is a lily but my knowledge of flowers is mediocre and especially when they are rendered on cloisonne. Guesses there are much appreciated!

For cloisonne, the colors are quite unusual. They have faded with age and aren’t the brilliant renditions of rich color that comes with contemporary cloisonne. The strange seafoam green as the base is a color I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on cloisonne. The water-blue is wonderful. The main color, this deep red, is one that always keeps me coming back to the south of China and items made for Southeast Asia. Though I bought it in Chicago, I’ve begun to wonder if Southeast Asia was not its initial destination.

The last figure I’ll note, because I could keep going but it’s not necessary at this point, is the small little guy hiding at the bottom. The “hidden figure” is what has given me my best hopes of identifying the piece and possible a maker. It would take me through a chase down into the wayback machine but I believe I’ve confirmed my suspicions about the item. I managed to find a similar red cloisonne item bearing traits reminiscent of this piece. And that piece was signed. However, that’s where it becomes more difficult because why would this one not have been signed? Who knows. Seeing that other piece, one of the few pieces I’ve seen that matches the colors, the unusual motifs and even had its own “hidden figures” is the best comparison I’ve come upon. It validates a conclusion that the other  information points towards, that these are made between the end of the 19th century and the early quarter of the 20th century most likely for export to Southeast Asia

Hope all is well, friends!

Chinese and Japanese collection

I love being an antique collector with modern technology. What becomes possible for the amateur collector was only possible for large budget auction houses of the past. Here I’ll make a little “catalog” of the collection that I’ve put together for a theme auction. Many of the pieces I’ve very recently acquired as I’ve been learning a lot about the market in my free time. Keep in mind that I auction things at rated prices and not starting with no reserve. Thanks for reading and viewing! 🙂

Chinese Antiques:

Great pieces. One of the few that I’ve discussed with a true expert in the field. The pair were made off of the same model. Take a look at it. I’ve had these in my collection for a while and I suspect I’ll hold onto them for a while longer. That’s okay, the work into them is beautiful and they’re enamel on copper with extra detail and effort put into coloring the flowers. Not the typical cloisonne.

Blue and white double happiness ginger jar. Unmarked but with strong signs of age. Would be a great decorative addition to any space. I hear blue and white is coming back from a few different fronts.

Our first piece of thai export market porcelain. We’ve been learning a lot more about this type of export china because of our locality. I believe there is quite a bit here but I’ve yet to find a truly extravagant example like some of the museum pieces I’ve seen. Here is a humble, yet smart porcelain tazza.

Early 20th Century Chinese Vintage to Antique:

This is a nice copper matchstick holder made for the tourist market in the early to mid 20th century. It isn’t too big but it really packs a punch in its style, which is almost a repousse manner.

Nice vintage to antique famille rose Chinese bowl. Flower and panel scenes typical of the style.

One of my favorite pieces here, this is a small porcelain jardiniere made in blue and white. Found this little guy hiding in a garage. Will be happy to have it go to a good home where it will be appreciated! 🙂

Vintage urn, my suspicions upon acquiring was that it was around 1960-70. The finial has actual wear and there is serious oxidation under the lid. It could be a bit earlier but I would be surprised of that.

With a 6 character mark, I’m fairly positive that this is an early 20th century porcelain ware. Maybe still an antique by 2017 as a starting point.

A fun, colorful plate from the 30s or 40s.

An early to mid 20th century famille rose style large vase with great scenes. It has some enamel damage but is in decent condition for its age.

Retro China – mid to late 20th Century Vintage:

Strangely enough, one of the heavy hitters of the collection. Found recently, these cinnabar cloisonne combo vases are a rare pickup from the mid to late 20th century. Features cherry blossoms and a lotus flower on the back.

Another interesting find, this vase features more people than any I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if this piece of pottery had over 100 people on it. I assume that it’s a festival make from the mid to late 20th century. It was acquired from the estate of a couple who worked a long time for an airline co.

Another acquisition from the same estate as above. This ceramic pillow was a great addition to our collection. We date it to the same time as previous piece, it may have even been bought at the same location.

An interesting piece of our collection, this was acquired years ago. It’s a ruffled white and blue glass piece made by a studio in china, ca 1960. It has a ground pontil mark, which is quite unusual for this type of ware. This is an antique of tomorrow.

Beautiful modern cloisonne that will sit somewhere stylishly. White, blue and teal for those that are into that.

A good example for the difference between modern, contemporary cloisonne and the antique wares. Look at the brilliant colors that you only see on modern pieces.

A bit earlier. This pickup is classic “retro china.”

Kitsch 1980s export china porcelain tea cup, very fine and light

Resin or resinwood decorative molded vase. I was skeptical at first as it isn’t the quality of the antique pieces but it does fit in rather well with the other pieces.

Modern chinese brush box. It’s a great piece with a wonderful look.

Japanse Antiques:

Sometsuke Edo period Japanese Cup. Have seen it labelled as a tea cup, soba cup, water cup and more. Lovely period styles underneath the light glaze. Condition is less than perfect with a slight crack but truly a great piece with age. Bought from a good estate.

Purchased from the same estate as the Edo period cup, this charger is from a bit later in the 19th century. It is a wonderfully decorated piece and it is much more intricate than others I have seen from the period. Imari Sometsuke again. Is blue and white getting stronger? We’ll see!

More unusual pieces. This polychrome imari bowl is late 19th or early 20th century. It has strange dragons. They look like they want to fight.

Marked Nippon, this piece dates to the turn of the 20th century. It is imitating the European style for export china during the period. The piece itself is marked hand-painted.

Retro Japan:

Brush pots are in. I’m not 100% sure why, but I know that they are. The market for them looks really strong right now. We’ll see how this one does. I added it to my collection recently.

Another recent addition to the collection, this unusual piece is vintage japan.

Another vintage piece, this Imari ware porcelain jardiniere features a wagon.

Cute modern dotted Japanese cups or bowls.

Hope you enjoy!