Re: buying authentic prints

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Posted by Thomas Crossland on January 18, 1998 at 23:43:20:

In Reply to: buying authentic prints posted by Edward on January 18, 1998 at 06:31:59:

: I would like to begin collecting ukyio-e authentic edo prints. Are there still some availabe in good condition and approximately what is the range I can expect to spend for one of these prints. Where can I find the best bargins? Are there any decent reference books out there that can give me recent auction prices?


Unless you are able to travel to Japan and speak a little Japanese in order to locate "koto-hin ya" (old,small, antique shops) as I have been able to on several occasions, you can also do well at several "auction" sites listed right here on Hans' "Guide to Ukiyoe Sites on the Internet."
I can personally recommend Asian Collection Japanese Prints Auction--Gloucester, Virginia." They run a bi-weekly auction of Edo, Meiji, and shin-hanga prints at prices which seem to me to be quite fair. (Often much cheaper than prices "offered" by galleries or in larger cities with overheads to pay.) Just refer to prices posted of past/recent auctions to get an idea of fair market place prices created by an active body of persons bidding--largely a function of the perceived popularity of the artist. Above all however, I believe the most important "litmus test" to be quite simply, "Do I, personally, really like the print??" Do you find yourself coming back time and time again over several days to again view the same print(s)? If so, you'll be purchasing a piece of art you will surely treasure over time.
Also check out Shogun Gallery's "continuous auction"--if no higher bid is received in 48 hours each print is sold. Again, check posted prices of past auctions, AND review current/running bid history of print by print prices to be ideas. I have not (yet) bought via Shogun's, but have seen some prints sell for quite fair (sometimes "cheap"?) prices.
Finally, try e-mailing to Hattori Co., Ltd, in Nagoya, Japan. They will very promptly mail to you a large cataloge of their most recent auction (several 100 prints) along with minimum bids and the actual prices prints sold for. Prices are in "yen"--but not to worry, just think of yen pricing to be in pennys and you'll be close. (For example, beautiful Toyokuni III print priced at 10,000 yen is "about" $100.00 and it actually sold for 12,190 yen, "about" $121.00. Prices are actually quite a bit cheaper than this quick rule of thumb pricing: currently at about 130 yen per dollar, simply divide by 130 to get precise price, $76.92 and $93.77 respectively. Anyway, I would have no reservations as to purchasing via this catalog/auction method. Order a copy (email) and check out the prices actually sold at--pricing, again, seems very reasonable. Don't overlook the English "print condition" index inside the BACK cover--it will help a lot. By the way, my catalog indicates 471 prints sold last auction--and quite a few for under $100.
I believe these to be three reliable sources by which to obtain REASONABLY prices prints with at least some confidence as to authenticity. Good luck!! And enjoy.....

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