Since publishing 'Juggling a Number of Hats', I have decided to continue, as more extraordinary things have happened.  So, I started (March 2020) gradually writing some more: -

Part Two

Retirement and Memories

Selling a Few Antiques

Some interesting and rather strange things have happened with selling some Asian antiques.  We have sold the odd jade item, as we have been amazed at how much the value of certain antique Chinese jade have increased in value.  Looking back, the sale of the first piece we sold, had made us a sufficient profit to cover the cost of our entire collections, including the cost of keeping them safe all these years.  This piece was a green large table screen that we had bought for about 3,000 pounds and our friend Richard Marchant, a well-respected dealer, sold it for us, and we received 120,000 pounds, after his commission.  So, we could now regard all the rest of our collections as a gift!    

What we had decided to do in our retirement was to sell an antique, as and when we needed extra funds, so far, we have sold only a very few jade pieces, chosen because of the current exceedingly high values.  Our selection has been based on the fact that most of our treasured collection are pieces that were used and handled, rather than what we refer to as cabinet display pieces.  The ones we have now sold, were all originally jade pieces that my father had given to be sold in 1987 at Sotheby's auction in London 'Chinese Decorative Arts, Export Porcelain and Snuff Bottles' but all of them failed to reach the agreed low reserves.  One item, failed to reach the reserve of 350 pounds, yet we received 80,000 euros for it, so we were awfully glad that it had not sold so many years earlier!

On the other hand, another piece that we included in the same year, failed to reach the agreed reserve of 20,000 euros, so it was unsold.  This piece had also been in the same Sotheby's auction in 1987.  But what is strange, is that we were advised to put it in another auction about a year later, but this time with an exceptionally low reserve of only 3,000 euros.  The thinking was, that having such a low reserve would attract far more interest, and the expectation was, that it would easily sell for over 20,000 euros.  Yet again it failed to reach the reserve!  So, it is exceedingly difficult to anticipate what will happen in the auction rooms, when even the top auctioneers can be proved so wrong.  We are happy to have kept this piece, as it would have upset us to let it go for just a little over such a low reserve, which might have happened.

Ivory Restrictions

Netsuke have been collected for many years, by so many collectors, there have been lots of publications about them, and the craftsmen who carved them.  The most desirable ones have reached extremely high prices in the past.  But now suddenly to save the elephants, all ivory objects are becoming difficult to sell.  I agree that everything possible should be done to protect all our endangered wildlife.  But there are some wonderful and important antique ivory netsuke, that have been eagerly sought after by collectors, that could now become valueless!  One wonders what will happen, as we know auctioneers are refusing to sell ivory. 

The problem has arisen because of the substantial number of fake netsuke (copies of the best pieces), and most people are not able to tell them apart from the genuine ones, so that is why the current ban has included all antique netsuke too!  

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