Asian Antiques & The Economic Crisis

By John Neville Cohen


With such an awesome economic crisis worldwide, many of us naturally wonder how this is affecting the antique and art market.  This is a question that understandably concerns all collectors who might be considering buying or selling.  

But history has shown that whenever the financial economy has been really bad, whether caused by recession, or inflation, fine quality rare antiques have not only retained value but have remained in very high demand.  The Asian antique market, as well as other good quality antiques and works of art, during financial slumps have tended to remain safe and even continued to increase in value. 

The antique auction rooms have reported, that so far, they continue to be very busy.  There has always been and probably always will be, new collectors interested in owning high quality works of art.  But the best Asian antiques have done particularly well, as there are such limited numbers of rare quality items available and such a very large growing demand.

The Chinese in China having become wealthier and are very keen to collect, or invest in, fine examples of their own heritage.  The result is a growth of new antique auction houses all over China (many of these sell huge numbers of antiques, thousands at each auction, so much more than is normal in Europe or America).  But added to this many of the Chinese outside China have become extremely wealthy too and they have added to this growing demand for the scarcest important Asian antiques whenever offered worldwide. 

The Internet too has been partly responsible for creating an even greater interest, introducing new collectors, or investors, from countries such as China, Russia and India.  It is now possible to so easily study photographs and price guides, at the Internet auctions held frequently, as well as to check with dealers, who have an online presence, enabling growing numbers to keep an eye on the marketplace and current values.  

These are some of the reasons for prices continuing to rise and for the large number of new record auction prices that have been achieved even over the last twelve months.  The media always concentrates on the financial bad news and there is hardly ever any mention of these record prices that keep surprising us all. 

No one can guarantee what will happen in the future, but provided the following guidance is taken, then any of the risks involved in buying antiques will be greatly reduced.   

  1. Study the subject carefully, obtain advice and be sure you are really interested and enjoy whatever you decide to collect. 
  2. Only purchase the very highest quality that you can afford.  High quality is far more important than quantity.
  3. Buy from the most reputable of specialists, as they will be prepared to guarantee the authenticity, the age and possibly even the provenance.

Regardless of any financial turmoil the best and most important antiques, or works of art, have always in the past remained a stable form of investment that continued to rise.


John Neville Cohen: An international award winning photographer who also became a well known Asian antiques collector and an enthusiast of Jensen British classic cars.  Other interests are skiing and Salsa dancing.  The author has been a very keen collector for many years in helping to create ‘The Cohen Collection’.    Please have a look at: -   

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Keywords: Economic crisis, Bank crisis, breaking records, Asian antiques, Auctions, recession, record auction prices, Antique collectors, investing, financial economy, inflation,