The recent move in the antiques market for all things Asian seems to have no end in sight, as prices continue to escalate in virtually every area of collecting.
For proof, one need look no further than the popular British collecting show, Antiques Road Trip, which saw one of its two experts make a staggering 7,500% in profit on a bronze Buddha. The show, which centers on the two hosts of the program competing against each other on a road trip for the best "find" they can bring to auction, at the best realized price, recently set a record with the sale of a bronze Buddha for over $5,100.00 US dollars. Which is nothing to sneeze at when you consider the item is made of bronze - not gold or silver.
A former dealer from Brighton who watched the show was stunned, "I actually used to sell these types of items in my shop for less than twenty quid," said Nigel Rothe, "...and that was only a few years ago."
Anita Manning, one of the show's hosts, and the expert who came across the Buddha, said that she stumbled upon the figure in a Vintage Curiosities shop in Sandwich where it was marked for sale at £85. Knowing that legitimate antique Buddhas were currently fetching upwards of six-figure sums, while newer reproduction counterparts were worth virtually nothing, she decided to take the plunge and gamble on the chance that this one might be the real McCoy. After a little bartering with the shop owner Anita managed to get the price down to £50, hoping her instincts would prove her right at auction.
When the Buddha finally came up for sale, Manning said it was evident from the beginning of the auction that with international buyers in attendance, and a starting bid of a £1000, she knew her gamble was likely going to pay-off. After some jockeying from bidders the final hammer fell at £3800 (or approximately $5,100 US dollars).
Many dealers who reached out to online forums after the show to express their amazement at the final price, seemed genuinely surprised at the sudden surge in value for Asian items of this caliber. As one dealer lamented, "It's often the auctions that lead the way... we just have to follow their lead, and hopefully not have already given away too many items... too cheaply!"
- A.I.A. Staff Writers - Sept. 6th 2016 (**For more stories likes this, click on our monthly Archive Links)