Chinese Antiques are Rising in Value and Price. Why?
Historically, around the world Chinese antiques have been highly valued. This is mainly because of their status as historical treasures, and also because of the amount of artistry that went into designing and crafting each piece. Then there's the obvious - their enduring beauty. These rare and desirable pieces are going up in price as a result from increasing demand by wealthy bidders. But who are the new bidders and buyers of Chinese antiques?
Prior to 2005, there was practically no market for Chinese antiques in China: almost all buyers were Westerners and/or were exports to the West. Today, the millions of "newly wealthy" Chinese themselves are the largest and most energetic market for acquiring and purchasing Chinese antiques.
Remember that in China until recently there were only the royals, their court, merchants, government officials, and the very poor. China had no middle class that needed or could afford any type of furniture. As a result of the additional demand from this new domestic Chinese market, there has been a significant rise in price and a significant decline in the supply of authentic Chinese antique pieces.
In the West, interior designers and many individuals have incorporated Chinese antique furniture, art and décor into their residential and commercial designs for decades. The classic style and design of Chinese furniture, and the beauty and craftsmanship of the porcelains and home décor, blend beautifully with contemporary items and antiques from around the world. Add to this the increase of Western reality shows that are focused on buying, selling and salvaging antiques. This is helping more and more people to learn of, appreciate, and to collect antiques.
Another interesting aspect fueling rising prices is that many pieces of antique Chinese furniture need some love and attention to their structure and/or to their finishes. Chinese craftspeople skilled in the ancient methods and techniques of finishing and repairing furniture are diminishing, with their services becoming more valued and pricier.
Investing in Chinese antiques?
The international art and antiques market is worth around $50 billion annually. Authentic Chinese porcelains, and some Chinese furniture crafted from rare woods, like huanghuali, are being purchased at auction for record amounts around the world. Investors can create wealth from these investment opportunities when Chinese art and furniture is bought and sold.
The Chinese market is proving to be a good liquid market for these hard assets, with increasing price appreciation as a result of strong Chinese and world demand. Due to these factors and due to the growth of the Chinese economy and the gradual appreciation of the Chinese currency, it is a reasonable assumption that this trend will continue.
Another interesting development helping to fuel Chinese demand is the drive by the Chinese government to reassert its ownership of national treasures, which in turn is inspiring the newly wealthy Chinese private collectors to seek their countries artifacts as part of a patriotic duty.
Investing in Chinese antique furniture and artifacts can be fun, rewarding, and can be a very good choice. However, be cautious. There is a large amount of faked or forged artwork and antiques. In 2012 the Chinese government closed a private museum because it was believed that all or most of the 40,000 "antiquities" inside were fake.
We recommend that you do your homework, read about the items you are interested in, and work with reputable antique stores, e-commerce businesses, and auction companies.
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