One of my dreams is to have an antiques business. I've been considering renting a booth at an antique flea market to start, as I now have a garage full of miscellaneous antiques from our recent inheritance. However, I'm not sure of the worth of most of the things I have. I've been looking around on the Internet, and learned a little  but don't feel like I have enough knowledge to be successful. Do you know where I can educate myself about antiques and the antique business


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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals MagazineAsian Works of Art > Feature: Shopping for Antiques in the Far East

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Shopping for Antiques in the Far East
Shop with confidence

by Richard Davis

As mysterious as travelling to the Far East may seem to most people, shopping there for souvenirs or antiques can be daunting. Regardless of whether your destination is Hong Kong, Bangkok, or Taiwan, you should do a little research before embarking on any overseas purchases, especially if you're on a budget.

My first visit to Hong Kong was in 1988, and there already existed an established marketplace for anything from genuine antiques to curios made for the average tourist.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Hollywood Road is a favorite Hong Kong destination and the most famous street for genuine Asian antiques. There you can stroll through ten's of shops and see wonderful pottery from early dynasties such as the Han and Tang.

Since Hong Kong is still the major clearing port for items arriving from interior China, there is a tremendous selection of goods in all price ranges. Anything antique that you might purchase should come with a certificate of authenticity from the merchant.

On another one of my stops, I ventured over to Kowloon via the Starr Ferry, which crosses Hong Kong harbor, and went into a government-sponsored store by the name of Peiking Arts and Crafts, which sells both new and old Chinese items starting from as little as $50 U.S. Everything from snuff bottles, to contemporary paintings, to antique porcelain is sold at this popular spot.

Luckily all these destinations are still in business there was some concern after the changeover in 1997 that things might be different.


While in Bangkok, you may want to check out the River City shopping complex, located in the heart of the city. This is very similar to Hollywood Road in that a large group of merchants have gathered together to form a unique area that specifically caters to Western tourists.

Many merchants speak English and prices are not only reasonable, they are also very negotiable.

Southeast Asian oil paintings by local artists can be found in most shops, and prices begin at about $300 U.S. and go up into the thousands. Textiles, linens and fine silks are also at the top of my list because the Thais make some of the finest in the world.

Taipei is not the emporium that Hong Kong is, but it offers a good selection of Chinese arts and crafts, and bargains to boot. The Chinese Handicraft Mart near the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, a government-sponsored organization, sells Chinese porcelain, jade, bronze, lacquer, and furniture at all levels of quality and price.

The Taiwan Crafts Center is another government-operated store with locally produced goods. Both centers will ship items to anywhere in the world and credit cards are accepted.

Hopefully, these few tips will help make your antique shopping experience easier and give you the confidence to strike out on your own.


Richard Davis is an expert in Chinese ceramics, furniture, jade, bronzes, and sculpture and Japanese works of art. He is a consultant to Beshar's Fine Rugs and Antiques in New York, owns Richard A. Davis Asian Art, and responds to questions about Asian art: Click here for live, immediate advice at Keen!


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