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My last column contained a list of the top 10 items that are selling well now.  I discussed number 10 on the list, “1960’s and earlier toys, comic books and other collectibles”.

Number 9 is “Early Chinese and other Asian antiques”.  The increased wealth in China has created high demand for early Chinese antiques.  The Chinese government has placed limitations on exporting antiques.  There are restrictions on items made in 1911 or earlier.  If the government determines that the items have cultural value, they are also excluded from export.

Small Asian painting on silk brought $345 at our last antique estates auction

Small Asian painting on silk brought $345 at our last antique estates auction


Although antiques aren’t leaving China there are news reports of Chinese antiques in other countries selling for large sums at auction.  Last month alone there were two news reports on the sale of valuable Chinese antiques.  A small, rare Chinese bowl from the Yongzheng period (1723-35) sold for £340,000 (over $500,000 U.S.).  A tiny jade seal used to stamp documents sold at a Dublin auction for €260,000 (over $300,000).  The Irish Times newspaper reported that auction estimate was only €4,000-€6,000 noting that it is “notoriously difficult” to estimate the value of Chinese antiques in this market.  The seal purportedly had a connection to the imperial family.  An expert on Chinese antiques estimated that, if the connection to the imperial family can be confirmed, it could be worth as much as €4.5 million (over $5 million U.S.).

A Forbes article reported that a recent auction of Asian 20th century and contemporary art brought $77 million.  Along with the expected strong showing for Chinese artwork, Korean art sold well and works by modern Vietnamese artists broke previous records.

A recent New York Times article reported that there is an interest in pocket watches that were made for the Asian market.  English 18th century and Swiss 19th century watches were produced that were “Asian caliber”.  They were often engraved pocket watches with colorfully designed scenes.

An International Business Times article states that there are 20 million stamp buyers in China.  When Chairman Mao was in power he banned stamp collecting because he considered it too bourgeois.  The ban was lifted in the 1980’s and there is huge demand for old Chinese stamps.

Japanese and other Asian antiques are also sought after.  Old Japanese woodblock prints and other artwork, wooden furniture by well know artisans, Samurai swords and military items from World War II are all very collectible.  Pop culture collectibles like robot and other tin toys continue to sell well.

With wealthy Chinese collectors buying antiques and collectibles and prices heating up on artwork and antiques created in other Asian countries, it’s a seller’s market.  That is why early Chinese and other Asian antiques are number nine on my list of hot items.

We continue to pick up some great pieces from local estates for our August 27th antique auction.  One of the latest is a medicine chest from the S.S. Rita which was captured during the Spanish American War.  The ship was converted to carry U.S. troops.  Announcements for some other upcoming events will be coming soon.  Keep watching or follow us on social media for updates.


Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services  (508-612- 6111),


Get the maximum value from your sale. Contact Central Mass Auctions today.

Central Mass Auctions

255 Park Ave. Suite # 1000

Worcester, MA 01609

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