Buying Chinese Antiques

Does anyone here have experience in buying Chinese antiques in Taiwan? In particular, I’d like to know how much one could negotiate the prices (is this acceptable? is it insulting to begin by offering half the asking price?)

I have a few pieces I’m interested in at the following stores:

  • No. 58 Tong Fong Street (southwest of the Ren Ai Circle between Fuxing S. and DunHua Rd.)
  • Cherry Hill Antiques (Min Sheng W. Rd. near Dihua Street)
  • Bai Win Antiques (Chung Shan N. Rd., Sec. 6)
  • Blue Field… (northwest corner of Ren Ai Circle)
  • small store near corner of Yanshou St. and Lane 80 Min Sheng E. Rd, Sec. 4
  • a place in Wugu (big warehouse)

Any other suggestions? Taipei Living describes an antiques warehouse past the National Palace Museum near the closed-down amusement park, but I can’t for the life of me find that place :?

The Seattle Times had a series of articles about a “Chinese antiques” scam that was being run by a professor from HK, who had a store in downtown Seattle. While the specifics aren’t about Taiwan, a lot of the information in the articles would probably be useful to you, such as testing methods to assure authenticity and how this dealer was scamming customers with fake certifications.

If this link doesn’t work for you:
Click here.

then go to

and try searching on “Thesaurus” (the name of the now-defunct shop) or perhaps some more generic searches under “Chinese antiques” and the like.

Note to whomever edited my post to change the links: if you’re going to do that, please check afterwards to make sure that they actually still work the same way they did before. You added some garbage characters in the middle that made the first one fail.

Hmmmm, very interesting reading, and it makes me feel like I might be jumping into the deep-end. On the other hand, the reason I’m buying is because of the esthetic value, and not because of the pieces’ monetary or re-sale value, but I’d still hate to learn one day that I’d been swindled… Also, by looking and looking and looking, I think I’ve become pretty good at distinguishing the old furniture from the more recently made-to-look-old stuff (I don’t think I’d be all that good with ceramics or jewellry).

One of my concerns though, having never bought anitiques before, is knowing the real value of the pieces, what the dealers’ mark-up is, and whether there is scope for negotiation. I suppose that I’ll just have to try, and what I learn from the first shop, I’ll be able to use to my advantage in the next one…

Thanks for passing along the link to the Thesaurus scam.