Chinese Republic Period Enamel Vases

Value (2013) | $12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
I know my dad was in Shanghai in 1937, and he was purchasing furniture and odds and ends because my mother was coming out to the Philippines. And when she came back to New York in 1941, it all got shipped over. Later on when I was born, I just remembered seeing them on top of the old-fashioned kind of TV and the furniture and she just said, "When you dust, be careful." So in 1998, she moved out to live with us in California. They came and they've been packed up ever since and we decided maybe now is the chance to see what they were worth.

APPRAISER:
Well, have you had them appraised? Have you shown them to anyone?

GUEST:
Yes, in 1998 we were at the Brooklyn Museum and my husband inquired and the gentleman there said that they may be over 150 years old. He gave us a price we thought was pretty good, but we didn't know, "Well, is he telling the truth or what?" So we packed them up, I think we stopped off at an antique dealer in New York who didn't give us the same good information, so we thought, "Well, we don't know, so let's pack them away."

APPRAISER:
They're a beautiful pair. It's rather interesting in the fact that they were done during the Republic period in China, which started in 1912. They were inspired by Chien-lung pieces, and that's what's on the bottom, the Chien-lung mark. It's a spurious mark. It's not a genuine mark of that period, but somebody looking at that would say, "Oh, it's Chien-lung." It's the Chien-lung style, and it's an honorific type of marking. But they're fantastically good quality for the Republic period. The market now is very, very strong for these pieces. The mainland Chinese really enjoy works of this quality. The design is beautiful, it's the same on both of them, wonderful landscape, tremendous detail and fine workmanship. These are porcelain, gorgeous condition, and it would have been probably about 1920 when these were manufactured. And do you have any idea how much your father might have paid for this pair?

GUEST:
You know, actually I don't, but being in the Navy, I'm sure not a lot.

APPRAISER:
And that was 1930...?

GUEST:
1937.

APPRAISER:
So you don't have an idea what they're worth, you don't want to take a guesstimate?

GUEST:
The person at the museum said $50,000 and he sounded a little...

APPRAISER:
But he thought that they were early and you thought they were Chien-lung.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
If they were Chien-lung, yes. But they're Republic, as I say. An auction market price for this pair would be between $12,000 and $18,000 in today's market.

GUEST:
Well, that’s incredible. Well, thank you for that.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Castle Fine Arts, Inc.
Del Mar, CA
Appraised value (2013)
$12,000 Auction$18,000 Auction
Event
Anaheim, CA (June 22, 2013)
Period
20th Century
Form
Vase
Material
Enamel

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.