Ebay Flum Fakery

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
Post Reply
User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Mantrik » Sun May 06, 2018 8:14 pm

By far the most dodgy source of 'Tibetan' and 'Asian' goods is China, but there are some in India too.

Here are two identical Garuda statues, one plain brass, the other treated with liver of sulphur to turn it black.

The prices - £41.14 and £410.00 !

What a difference a dye makes! ;) (awful song pun)

The usual price would be between £80 and £150 for this 8 inch statue. The first price is from a new seller who hasn't yet got much feedback, so they may be selling cheap to attract a lot of purchasers, or they may be a scammer who may not even have the goods and will grab the money from the greedy and run.

The second is grossly over-inflating the price, but I can't say it is criminal because the listing calls it 'old' but otherwise makes no claims. Caveat emptor.


Image


Image
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 16848
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Grigoris » Sun May 06, 2018 9:00 pm

I bet you brought the one from "Honesty-shop88". I trust 'em!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Mantrik » Sun May 06, 2018 9:30 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 9:00 pm
I bet you brought the one from "Honesty-shop88". I trust 'em!
Of course. I trust a seller with an honest name implicitly. :)
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 5464
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Queequeg » Mon May 07, 2018 4:50 pm

Its not just ebay where you have to be careful. Even at the top of the food chain at fine arts auctioneers like Christie's or Sotheby's where you have some of the foremost experts evaluating the items, fakes are common.

If you're really looking for antiques, you have to start with provenance and then continue your investigation from there. There was an auction at Christie's last spring of Chinese antiques from a Japanese collection - the prices were record setting because many items could be traced back in the hands of Japanese collectors for decades, and even centuries.

Counterfeiters have developed their techniques so well its nearly impossible, even for experts, to spot fakes just by looking at the particular item.

There is always the consolation, "Does the object bring you joy? If so, then what does it matter how much you paid for it."
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Mantrik » Mon May 07, 2018 5:45 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 4:50 pm
Its not just ebay where you have to be careful. Even at the top of the food chain at fine arts auctioneers like Christie's or Sotheby's where you have some of the foremost experts evaluating the items, fakes are common.

If you're really looking for antiques, you have to start with provenance and then continue your investigation from there. There was an auction at Christie's last spring of Chinese antiques from a Japanese collection - the prices were record setting because many items could be traced back in the hands of Japanese collectors for decades, and even centuries.

Counterfeiters have developed their techniques so well its nearly impossible, even for experts, to spot fakes just by looking at the particular item.

There is always the consolation, "Does the object bring you joy? If so, then what does it matter how much you paid for it."
Yes, when it comes to antiques the advice is always to buy an object because you like it.

I know of two publications which show how widespread the counterfeiting skills are.

The first is a book with literally thousands of recipes for patination of bronze, many to acquire antique effects.

The second is much older, and refers to faking age of metal objects by placing them in manure - all the various types, durations, dilutions, combinations etc. I believe it is still done in Nepal with some degree of accuracy. A friend was shown this in Kathmandu.

Not every replica (tribute, honorofic, insert other euphemisms) is modern of course. A 'Han Dynasty' or 'Warring States' bronze mirror may be copied hundreds of years later and the copy is still very old and fairly valuable.

The problem with Ebay and the law in the UK is that each advert has to be reported individually to the Advertising Standards or Trading Standards authorities. You can prove a seller is a rogue and have their advert or false claims withdrawn, but if they have listed hundreds of items with the same falsehoods it becomes a full time job keeping up. For overseas sellers you have to wait until the items fail to arrive or are not as advertised before Ebay will act.

In the case of the really expensive statue I think the claims are too vague for any action.......claims it is 'old' etc. are meaningless. Listing it in the 'Antiques' category isn't really dodgy enough either.
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 5464
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Queequeg » Mon May 07, 2018 6:16 pm

Well, at least you have laws in the UK. I'm not sure we have any such laws in the US. You might have a claim for fraud. I know for a fact that ebay does take action against sellers who deal in fakes, but its really just like a game of whack-a-mole - even if one seller is banned, they'll just show up with another identity.

Buyer beware is the only practical rule.

Regarding fakes - it really is amazing when an item is identified as a fake that is centuries old - "It's a Ming era fake of a Tang bronze" Price drops from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands... The amount of money that changes hands in connection with these pieces is mind boggling.

"A fake Jamaican took every last dime with that scam,
It was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand."
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Mantrik » Mon May 07, 2018 7:28 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 6:16 pm
Well, at least you have laws in the UK. I'm not sure we have any such laws in the US. You might have a claim for fraud. I know for a fact that ebay does take action against sellers who deal in fakes, but its really just like a game of whack-a-mole - even if one seller is banned, they'll just show up with another identity.

Buyer beware is the only practical rule.

Regarding fakes - it really is amazing when an item is identified as a fake that is centuries old - "It's a Ming era fake of a Tang bronze" Price drops from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands... The amount of money that changes hands in connection with these pieces is mind boggling.

"A fake Jamaican took every last dime with that scam,
It was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand."
A lot of Chinese antiques in the UK are being bought back by Chinese buyers. I see them combing the antiques markets locally - they drive a hard bargain!

Sadly, some antiques are being stolen to order. We have a Museum of East Asian Arts locally with no real security when they are open, and it has twice been attacked by armed robbers, successfully the second time, the thieves taking only very rare and special items.
As you say, provenance is really important and museum pieces have provenance. Hard to sell in the West of course, but shipped back to China and auctioned there and it is easy money.

There is a very slim possibility of an insurance scam - thieves steal a valuable museum piece and offer it to the insurers for half its value. The museum gets its artefact back, the insurers pay out half as much and the thieves never risk police attention. In this case, though, the market is so specialised and demand is so high, it looks much more like things were stolen to order. They weren't the highest insurance value, just highly specialised so attractive to specific collectors. They have a Garuda statue and if they do not reopen I will offer to look after it for them on my shrine.

P.S. That video reminded me of Talking Heads! :)
But then, at my age, every band reminds me of another one from decades ago!
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 5464
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Queequeg » Mon May 07, 2018 8:11 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 7:28 pm
A lot of Chinese antiques in the UK are being bought back by Chinese buyers. I see them combing the antiques markets locally - they drive a hard bargain!
Same in NY. My wife used to work at an auction house and we have friends who are Japanese and Chinese specialists. The market for Chinese art, antique and contemporary is very strong right now. Most observers agree its a bubble, but as long as it keeps its air, no one is complaining.

There are a number of interesting factors going into the market. One is national pride - I think many collectors see their efforts as nationalist in the sense that they are bringing items that were wrongfully plundered by Western imperialists back home. Another factor is diversification of assets/money laundering. My brother who works in finance was telling me that wealthy Chinese are willing to pay as much as 100% premiums to get money out of China, ie. they will pay a middle man $50 million to get $50 million out of China. Once out of China, they look for safe harbors like real estate in stable places like NYC, London, etc. as well as easily movable assets like art. They are willing to overpay for these items just to ensure that they have valuable assets outside China. Its pretty insane.

When it comes to auctions, they pull all kinds of shady shenanigans. For instance, one bidder might bid up a piece with the full intent of not following through. What happens is the auction house then has to offer the piece to the other bidders who of course are not interested in paying their last full bid knowing that they were involved in a fake bidding war. The result is often that the piece has no buyer. Then, another party comes in and offers a low ball that the seller will consider. This plan could also involve multiple parties who have a secret deal among them to buy up pieces through these kinds of post auction sales.

Art is a really shady business despite the patina of class and sophistication.
Sadly, some antiques are being stolen to order.


Not surprising at all considering the amounts of money involved.
There is a very slim possibility of an insurance scam
That is an interesting angle. Like I said, so shady.
P.S. That video reminded me of Talking Heads! :)
But then, at my age, every band reminds me of another one from decades ago!
That particular song is definitely a nod to the 80s, and the singer definitely has that urgent tenor of David Byrne. Never thought of that but totally get the comparison. Great band. Don't know how you are with digesting new music, but I highly recommend them. Lyrics are up there on a Bob Dylan level of poetry sometimes.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

User avatar
justsit
Posts: 903
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by justsit » Mon May 07, 2018 8:16 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 7:28 pm
Sadly, some antiques are being stolen to order. We have a Museum of East Asian Arts locally with no real security when they are open, and it has twice been attacked by armed robbers, successfully the second time, the thieves taking only very rare and special items.
As you say, provenance is really important and museum pieces have provenance. Hard to sell in the West of course, but shipped back to China and auctioned there and it is easy money.
Thievery of antiquities isn't limited to Buddhist artifacts, of course. Recently, the craft store chain Hobby Lobby was caught buying stolen rare Iraqui cuneiform tablets to put in the owner's Bible museum. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/02/us/p ... y-ice.html

User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Mantrik » Mon May 07, 2018 8:31 pm

justsit wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 8:16 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 7:28 pm
Sadly, some antiques are being stolen to order. We have a Museum of East Asian Arts locally with no real security when they are open, and it has twice been attacked by armed robbers, successfully the second time, the thieves taking only very rare and special items.
As you say, provenance is really important and museum pieces have provenance. Hard to sell in the West of course, but shipped back to China and auctioned there and it is easy money.
Thievery of antiquities isn't limited to Buddhist artifacts, of course. Recently, the craft store chain Hobby Lobby was caught buying stolen rare Iraqui cuneiform tablets to put in the owner's Bible museum. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/02/us/p ... y-ice.html
This Brit would be put off buying from them just from the name alone! :)
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 5464
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Queequeg » Mon May 07, 2018 9:03 pm

This is going to be an unpopular position in some circles, but, I do think artifacts might be better off in a museum like the Louvre, Met or British Museum, or even private collections, despite the taint of imperialism, where a country is unstable and lacks the resources to protect and preserve their heritage... Once a country is stable and has the resources to safeguard the items, they can be returned...
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

User avatar
justsit
Posts: 903
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by justsit » Mon May 07, 2018 9:07 pm

This Brit would be put off buying from them just from the name alone! :)
Lol. There is actually an ongoing boycott of the company among knitters, many of whom are women, and other crafters and LGBT allies due to the US Supreme Court's ruling in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius. The decision allows many employers to deny insurance coverage for certain types of contraception, thereby elevating the "rights" of closely held corporations over the health care of its women employees. https://www.advocate.com/politics/2014/ ... bby-ruling

User avatar
Mantrik
Posts: 1319
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Mantrik » Mon May 07, 2018 10:36 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 9:03 pm
This is going to be an unpopular position in some circles, but, I do think artifacts might be better off in a museum like the Louvre, Met or British Museum, or even private collections, despite the taint of imperialism, where a country is unstable and lacks the resources to protect and preserve their heritage... Once a country is stable and has the resources to safeguard the items, they can be returned...
Agreed. So much destroyed in recent years.
I understand only a in a very small way how even in those countries it may seem as though safety of such things will continue even in war. As I sat in the desert between India and Pakistan at a point of high tension it still seemed impossible they would actually go ahead and obliterate cities. But they came very very close. And since then, IS, Iraq, Egypt etc.
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 1909
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Ebay Flum Fakery

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon May 07, 2018 11:24 pm

Similarly, when ever I go to museums I always look at the religious artifacts. I always wonder how they got into a museum.

I went to the national museum in Nara and all the statues and texts said which temple they came from...I wondered why they aren't in the temple anymore?

Post Reply

Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Norwegian and 30 guests