The latest issue of Ina Steiner’s Auction Bytes blog, released today via virtual mail, includes an entry titled “Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot.” The article is written by Julia Wilkinson, who happens to sell these very same items.
Wilkinson’s source claims that yes indeed, Asian antiques are “in demand,” and “commanding record prices.” The source, who runs an auction house which coincidentally, has a large Asian antiques show coming up next month, uses a rather strange reasoning for this claim.
AGE. Collectors of Asian antiquities are younger than those who collect American antiques, and this single factor somehow makes the items more collectible. The article notes that the average age of a Chinese collector is 50, whereas the average age of an American collector is 70.
I don’t see the relationship. Either one loves antiques or one does not. The age of the collector seems a far less likely reason for buying than say, disposable income. This predisposition toward buying antiques is not mentioned in the blog. However, one other item is named.
CULTURAL SHIFT. According to Wilkinson’s source, there is a loosening of the restraints from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and this accounts for the rising demand. In other words, the Communist campaign that began in 1966 by Chairman Mao Zedong is no longer restraining the purchase of Chinese antiquities. Does this make sense to you? Not to me.
The Cultural Revolution likely did not affect the “younger” Chinese antiques buyers simply because they were swaddling infants at the time of its inception. Right now, they’d be 46 years of age, which happens to match the demographic given by Wilkinson in her blog.
The Cultural Revolution, which ended in 1976 and has become known as the “decade of chaos,” was followed by a strong surge toward capitalism. In other words, China has been developing a market economy for the past three decades. This is exactly the type of economy that results in disposable income.
So we return to that all important factor: money. To buy antiques of any origin, one must have money. Age and ethnicity are non-factors. But above all, one must treasure antiques. As far as I’m concerned, this is the overriding raison de etre for the antiques collector.
I hope Ina Steiner will be more vigilant in her upcoming guest blogs. The article by Julia Wilkinson is not sharing any valid information. It is simply a dressed up advertisement. Speaking of which, I’ll openly admit to advertising a few of my Asian antiques via this blog!