18th-Century White Jade Carvings

Value (2006) | $40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
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GUEST:
After the second World War, my husband came back from Germany and then he was sent to Korea.

APPRAISER:
Really.

GUEST:
He was a chemist and he was in charge of the chemical plants over there. And a Korean wanted something American-- I really cannot remember what it was-- and he offered to trade my husband whatever he gave him American for this jade collection.

APPRAISER:
So your husband got this in trade and you don't know for what?

GUEST:
No, I don't remember.

APPRAISER:
You know, during the war it could have been cigarettes or soaps, you know, stockings.

GUEST:
I really don't remember.

APPRAISER:
You know, even though he got this in Korea, these are Chinese jades. The vast majority of these were carved in the 18th century during the reign of the Emperor Chen Lung.

GUEST:
That long ago?

APPRAISER:
Yes. He loved white jade, which was mined predominantly in northwest China, and his taste for these wonderful small carvings-- scholar's objects such as this bi-disc, this little sensor, and this brush washer, were all made for the imperial court. Since he set the taste, other wealthy merchants decided that they wanted to collect the things that the emperor collected. Of the entire collection, the most important pieces are this piece, the bi-disk, the sensor, and the incense vase, which would each bring individually between $10,000 to $15,000 at auction.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
The entire collection...

GUEST:
Each?

APPRAISER:
...would bring probably now, because the market is really hot, $40,000 to $60,000 easily at auction.

GUEST:
Wow. What a wonderful acquisition for... trade.

APPRAISER:
These are really terrific, beautifully carved examples from the reign of the Emperor Chen Lung.

GUEST:
That much?

APPRAISER:
I'm so excited that you brought them in.

GUEST:
My children will be very interested, too, because as you know, eventually it'll be theirs. (laughs) I'm really very, very pleased. Astounded. Thank you. My goodness. (laughs)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Bonhams, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2006)
$40,000 Auction$60,000 Auction
Event
Salt Lake City, UT (June 24, 2006)
Period
18th Century
Form
Vase
Material
Jade

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