Fake Shang Dynasty “You” Bronze, ca. 1900

Value (2009) | $200 Auction$250 Auction

GUEST:
I was actually on vacation in the Philippines and I got it in an antique store in Manila.

APPRAISER:
And this is a receipt from this Maynila Antiques in Manila. And they say, "One piece, bronze water vessel with patina. Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644. 19,000 pesos."

GUEST:
Pesos, right.

APPRAISER:
Philippine pesos.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Which is... that's about $400.

GUEST:
400 U.S. dollars, okay.

APPRAISER:
And you bought this when?

GUEST:
Actually in January of this year.

APPRAISER:
January. They said Ming Dynasty.

GUEST:
Right, right.

APPRAISER:
And you came up with another idea for possible dating.

GUEST:
Well, by looking at some photographs of others, I thought that it might be much older.

APPRAISER:
This form, and everything about it, would have nothing to do with the Ming Dynasty.

GUEST:
Okay, good.

APPRAISER:
What it does have something to do with is the Shang Dynasty.

GUEST:
Wonderful. Oh, good.

APPRAISER:
2000 B.C. to 1600 B.C.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
And this is very faithful to Shang pieces in many ways. Unfortunately, it was made in the early 20th century.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's a fake.

GUEST:
Yeah, I thought it might be.

APPRAISER:
Having a mark underneath the piece does not mean it's genuine.

GUEST:
Sure, sure.

APPRAISER:
Because they fake the mark.

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
The form is called a you, Y-O-U. When I look at it, I see things I like. It has tao tieh masks. They copied it in every detail. It's right. That's exactly what they look like. These confronting birds are pretty much like what they looked like. But there are problems with much of this. It has this knob, the little handle on the top. That is absolutely not Shang. They never would have produced a piece like that.

GUEST:
Okay, sure.

APPRAISER:
Then you have these flanges, which are too heavy, too crude. These handles on the lid are too heavy.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
They're exaggerated. The tao tieh masks, there's one on the front and one on the back. They stick out too far. They stand way out from the body. Now, the Chinese, when they did this, these were for imperial use.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
They were made at such enormous expense that it would have been easier to make things out of gold. These were made with molds, and the molds were carefully, painstakingly done. But not the mold for this. It's also too heavy.

GUEST:
Really? Okay.

APPRAISER:
The real ones are not that heavy. They made these copies, and they were not great copies, until about the turn of the 20th century, when they found originals that they started copying from.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And today, they're sending copies out of China that I can't tell are fakes.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
They have to be tested. When you look at them, they're absolutely true to the originals.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
At auction today, this is worth about $200 to $250.

GUEST:
Is it? Okay.

APPRAISER:
A real Shang bronze... Would be a lot more. $40,000 to $60,000.

GUEST:
Wow, wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Marvin Sokolow Antiques
Bayside, WI
Appraised value (2009)
$200 Auction$250 Auction
Event
Atlantic City, NJ (June 06, 2009)
Form
Vessel
Material
Bronze, Metal

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