Beware of items being sold from China that are supposedly rare and ancient artifacts as 99.99% of these are actually very cheap, low quality reproductions.
When i first started buying and selling in Ebay there were no such things as "guides and reviews" and all contact with ebay was trying to email automated responces! I got heavily stung buying so called "genuin antiques" from so called "genuin antique dealers" from China. I was looking for old swords and old instruments when i came across several sites from china purporting to be antique dealers selling surplus stock, aquired personally or from "private collections" as to release some space in thier shops. The item pictures looked wonderful and where given indepth descriptions as to a bit of thier history, how old they were and what quality and condition they were in.
I was at first sceptical about the low starting prices for such "unique" items (mostly 99p) but in most descriptions the postage was around £30-£80 and final prices often went for around 1/4 the expected price to the expected price. So i thought i would look around at the various sellers feedback and maybe buy from the more reputable ones. Now pretty much all of them had +ve FB (around 98%) but the odd -ve replies were things like "Item received broken, have to pay £35 for replacement!" and the very odd -ve reply said the items where fakes or recent repros of cheap low quality.
I had managed to find a couple of sellers without the "Item fake" or "Item not as described and new cheap replica" and with aroung 99.x% FB. So before i started bidding i though i would email the sellers and find out what kind of shipping deals they would do me as some of the items i was buying would have fitted into the same packages at negligable extra shipping cost. I said i would purchase several items, some of which i had my eye on i said i would purchase regardless of the final price. They replied they could fit some items into the same packages and although it goes against thier normal 2-4 items 5% discount on total shipping cost, 5-8 items 10% discount on total shipping etc.. they would accomadate me. Their emails were always in a rather polite, if bad english, manner.
I purchased a "high quality" Jade flute with "silver" detailing at around £45, an "ancient" C18 Tibetan horse head violin for around £45, an "authentic" WWII japanese officers sword for around £110.
I was outbid on several items and most of the items were going for prices similar to above and higher. When i emailed one seller about how i was dissapointed losing a bid for a particular jade flute (out bid at around £57) asking whether he had something similar in his shop he was willing to sell me, he said yes. He was prepared to sell me the same kind of flute for the original starting price! So i asked the other seller if i could purchase an "authentic C19" bone samuri sword set i was out bidded on for its original starting price of £25 and he said yes. At this point i was starting to feel a little less secure about the purchases i had already made, especially since i was convinced by them to pay by western union money transfer! In total this lot cost me around £300 split between the two different "dealers".
In short, the jade flutes were made from such low quality jade so as not to be considered jade. Apparently what bent jade dealers do is buy the cheap cheap jade, machine it, then dye it with a special green dye to make it look like decent jade. These flutes were made so shoddily that not even the dying process was done properly and every time i touched the flutes the dye came off all over my hands! One of the flutes subsequently broke in twine upon dropping it onto the couch! The "antique silver detailing" were just very thinly plated copper. One flute sounded fine (the one that broke!) but the other one was not even pitched correctly.
The "authentic WWII" samuri sword was a recent cheap repro cut from sheet and did not match the forged and folded steel sword in the picture.
The violin and bone sword set were not antiques or from the C18 or C19 at all but infact from the late C20 early C21! The bone sword set was a cheap modern replica and was received in pieces, even though it was well packaged! The violin was the only decent purchase made although it was not as described and was only made recently.
These items were independently checked by antiques experts/specialist, which is where i got most of my information after suspecting something was awry on receiving the items.
The items arrived mostly within the fortnight and i even left mostly good feedback as i was so pleased to have recieved the items mostly in one piece and as described (from first glance, except for the WWII samuri sword which the seller said he sent the wrong item and would replace for the shipping fee i.e. around £40)
Thease sellers where very polite and promptly replied to all emails BEFORE and ABOUT receiving monies, but never answered ANY AFTER i recieved my items!
Also i did report these sellers to ebay and tried to put up fake listings just so people would click on the listing then be able to read the warnings about these scammers. Ebay was by then fully automated and there was no way whatsoever of contacting a real person with any authority within ebay!
All in all, dont buy items like these from China. On looking at these kinds of items recently there is a lot less description than when i was first pulled in and this should tell you something. It seems ashame because most of the people who previously had bought items like these never even knew they had recieved not as described gfakes and some even had bad dealing with ebay after selling them on not even realising! It is also a shame because i bet there are a few genuin ebay traders out there from China, and these lying con-shops are giving all Chinese traders a bad name!
I did this trading about 6 years ago and due to too many bad experiences with ebay (fake items, neg FB from non paying bidders, double charging from paypal+ebay etc..) i stopped selling and buying and have only recently begun ebay trading again seeing how quite a few things have changed for the better (also i am alot more ebay wise now!). I have also forgotten the names of these fake antique dealers so just be generally aware. If the prices are too unbeleivably low, check the shipping costs and whether they combine shipping reasonably.
UNBELEIVABLE CHEAP PRICE + UNREASONABLY HIGH SHIPPING COST = FAKE, CHEAP REPRO OR OTHERWISE MISDESCRIBED CON!
BEWARE of rare and ancient arifacts from CHINA
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9 October 2006
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