Chinese antiques have been going up in price, but a report in the Financial Times (May 12, 2012) says as many as 40 percent of "sold" items were never paid for. China claims to be a world leader in art sales, but its auctions are noted for fakes ("quality-related problems"), buy-ins, and political maneuvers. Auctions in other countries have similar problems. American auctions have Chinese buyers who want antiques with a history of ownership in the United States, before fakes became a problem. But many expensive Chinese bronzes, ivories, and porcelain and pottery pieces sell here but are not paid for. Auction galleries in the United States and other countries are trying to stop the problem. Some now require a large deposit before they'll take bids on high-priced items. If the buyer refuses to pay the bill, the deposit is forfeited.
Photo: This affordable Chinese cloisonne vase sold at a Susanin's auction. | Liveauctioneers.com