Yiwei Zheng, an excellent example of why not to deal illegally in ivory and endangered species!

This article outlines a Nationalized U.S Citizen, Yiwei Zheng,

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(Image property of the Minneapolis StarTribune)

who has been arrested for being a trafficker in illegal ivory and rhino horn, minimally! If this all holds up to be true, which it appears it most likely is, this “Professor” deserves to go down for the rest of his life! He thought he was smarter than everyone else and therefore the rules did not apply to him. He wanted to play dishonest games that endangered our world heritage, and now he needs to be willing to accept the consequences of those actions equally to the greedy payoff he was seeking. If this is all true, clearly he was not smarter than everyone else, and he got caught red handed! If true, he is exactly the kind of person who is driving the extinction of the elephants and rhinos! I am shocked that St. Cloud State University is allowing him to continue teaching, shame on them! That is a poor decision when the charges are so sever and his behavior so blatant and arrogant! Is that really what St. Cloud State University wants to project to the world, that they support criminal traffickers in endangered species? I hope not, as a Minnesota Native. If, from the start, he would have just worked with United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), I am fairly certain he could have done very well for himself, his family and the world, he instead figured he was above the law and greedy! Let the cards fall where they may. Individual fines for selling ivory illegally can be in the hundreds-of-thousands of US dollars! And, enforcement of the existing laws have been increased significantly since 2014.

We have a direct relationship with the USFWS so that we can give our clients the most accurate advice on their ivory, rhino, and other endangered species art, antiques and artifacts! This is what we do, and we do it right from the beginning! If you need help with your unknown pieces, then please feel free to get in touch.

Enjoy the read:

http://www.startribune.com/local/298172091.html

Greg C. Brown, M.S., ISA AM.

info@asianappraisals.com

1-888-815-9430

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New world record fine art auction hammer price! WOW!

Check it out, this is amazing! WOW!

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31183733

Enjoy the read, Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA AM.

The basic story of Yuanminyuan, and why China has a right to be militaristically defensive!

I have walked this location with my best friend from China on my first trip ever there in 1999. It was very moving, and it was profound how few Westerners were there to understand.

This is part of the truth about how the west treated China in the 19th century, and is in large part why they have slowly but surely developed a stronger and stronger military. It is also akin to why Jewish art must be returned to the ancestors of the owners after the Nazis took it in WWII. My issue is, until really the late 20th century, this was the world rule, when you concurred another country/culture, all spoils of war were taken permanently by the winning party… So, should China be required to give back all art and antiques from the Mongols, etc…? What is fair, it is a very hard questions, but it MUST go both ways, regardless of the country.

Enjoy the read, Greg C. Brown, M.S., ISA AM.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30810596

An excellent example of how hard it is to prove important art works…

An interesting article about possible proof of the only existing Michelangelo bronzes known to exist! This is a great example of how hard it is to prove important examples of art work and antiques.

People often do not understand the extreme importance of provenance and/or factual evidence and/or forensic evidence in authenticating and placing the highest possible values on important antiques and art works. Doing that work is no small process. I am asked all the time to do authentication work, however, people do not understand nor want to pay for that work and expect us to rubber stamp things, which any legitimate art and antiques professional will never do and which far too many un-credentialed appraisers and antique dealers do do. if you want a rubber stamp, look to them, not us, but expect trouble when you want to get your insurance, tax deduction or sell the piece.

Authentication can not be done without doing all of the necessary work, period. The commitment must be made to doing ALL of the necessary work every time. It is not cheep, it generally is a slow process, some times painfully slow, but it can be the difference between an appraisal of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars , and a few thousands  dollars or even a few hundred dollars. Therefore, in the end, if you truly believe you have the real thing, it is more than worth the costs involved in proving it, but you must commit to doing it right from the beginning and not getting cold feet or trying to cut corners. Otherwise,  the client does not believe it is what they say if they do not want to commit to the proper and full process of authentication work and spend the money on it. It is much like investing in the stock market, or gambling, you must study what you want to buy/game you want to play, and commit to the belief you know what you are doing, but know that some times you lose. However, if you do your research and training properly and intelligently, you have a much better chance to back up your belief in what you are doing.

I had a client who had two potentially important Chinese paintings, but they only wanted to go so far in proving their authenticity, which was not enough, and I explained that to them. I explained that more specialists needed to be involved, but they were only willing to allow one, which is not how to do it. You must have a consensus of experts, and the only specialist-expert I was allowed to consult with to give a second opinion, gave results that matched our preliminary results, which were that 1) we need more work to establish factual evidence, 2) the current evidence pointed to the works being very old reproductions, not originals, and so the expert was in agreement with these initial conclusions, which means, we must state the pieces were not originals. In the end, I had to go with the limited proof that they allowed me to establish, which showed the works were not originals. I actually do believed they may be originals, but without the client allowing all the necessary and proper authentication work to be completed, it is NOT possible to prove. And, thus, they had to be declared not to be originals, until after more evidence was compiled, no matter my personal opinion, as my job is to be unbiased, and unfortunately, that is the only unbiased decision that could be made under the limiting circumstances of the clients. The lesson as a client, you need to be willing to commit to the entire process and trust and allow us to do our work. Some times we will break your heart, however, when we prove authenticity, we will bring elation and significant value.

If this link  Proving authenticity is very hard!  does not work, here is the URL to copy and paste, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-31085336

Enjoy the read, Greg C. Brown, M.S., ISA AM.

 

 

New U.S. Ivory Laws are in place NOW!

Hello everyone, I have taken a long hiatus from blogging, but there is an update that people need to be aware of in the ivory trade, especially in the United States.

This is not going to be a detailed blog post. However, I think it is important for everyone to know that there are new ivory rules, that are much more strict, covering the buying and selling of ivory within the United States of America. I am not going to analyze the rules in this blog, as I am still learning about them myself and have not called into the USFWS yet to get everything clear.

Therefore, I am posting the links to the US Fish and Wildlife Services information that I have at this moment, along with two article that tries to explain what all of this means. The rule with ivory is be cautious, as fines can be up to $200,000.00 USD and/or jail time for the illegal exchange of undocumented ivory specimens! It is still legal to possess pre-ban ivory, pass it along to family and friends as long as there is no financial gain involved, and donate it. The selling and buying are another thing, especially if it is undocumented. As I understand the rules, you can come to a person like me, who is an appraiser, and have me write-up a document with the estimated date and get the proper paper work done, which is allowed from what I can tell so far, but I want to talk to USFWS directly first before I will commit to this. I will post another update on this after I have done so. For now, follow the USFWS information below and if you are not sure, contact me about my services, or talk directly to USFWS yourself.

US Fish and Wildlife Services page: http://www.fws.gov/international/travel-and-trade/ivory-ban-questions-and-answers.html

What it may all mean, from the International Fund for Animal Welfare article: http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/what-does-new-us-ivory-ban-mean-buyers-sellers-and-elephants

The Washington Post Article about this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/new-rules-will-ban-import-and-export-of-ivory-and-make-it-harder-than-ever-to-sell/2014/02/11/de666c5a-934e-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html

If you would like more direct contact, you can tell me what you have, what you want to do with it, such as sell it, buy it, insure it, donate it, etc… and send a complete set (meaning top, bottom, all sides, images of writting/seals/stamps,etc.., close up images of workmanship, and any damage) of 100% clear and well lit photos to me. If the images are not complete, and not 100% and well lit, I will not respond, as I have far too many requests that are clear and well lit: Send the images to: gcbrownphotos@gmail.com.

Greg C. Brown, ISA AM. I am a USPAP compliant appraiser of fine art and antiques, specializing in Asian art and antiques, fossils, fine art prints, antiquities and other fine personal property.

Shame on all humans! Western Black Rhino has been declared extinct!

Shame on all humans! Western Black Rhino has been declared extinct!

Oh man! Please read the story in the link above! It is really, really terrible. My heart has sunk when I read it! What a loss to the entire history of life on earth, as there was absolutely no natural reasons for this to happen at this time other than ignorance, stupidity, selfishness and insatiable greed! So, fools, where are you going to earn your money now? I am very sorry for the human race’s inexcusable actions against all of my Black Rhino relatives… The main driving force behind this atrocity is the Chinese medicine industry’s ignorance and lack of desire to simply educate people and find a real solution to offer! In the US, we call this a snake oil sale man, and Doctors who do this are called quacks! Shame on any one saying they are a Healing Doctor who prescribed this, or anyone who preached this path to “health”! Also, the greatest of shame on all Governments  including my own and especially China (who would have had the greatest impact on stopping this from happening – if they could end foot binding, they could just as easily change the people’s perceptions of the use of Rhino horn as medicine!), who do not enforce international laws and CITIES on such critical issues! So, so sad!

The image from this article, below, is sadly of a now dead animal that was only recently one of the last living Black Rhinos on earth! We need to start to care and pay attention people, we have become blind to Mother Nature and her vital importance to our long-term survival!  We killed  off the Steller’s Sea Cow by 1768, only 27 years from first contact in 1741! The Elephants ARE next! Do we really want to kill off the largest living land animals? 

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What every Asian art and antiques collector should know BEFORE buying!

What every Asian art and antiques collector should know BEFORE buying!

Hello everyone, I have been on hiatus for a while for an expedition/research trip, travel and personal reasons, you know life IS busy!  But I am back and will start to post again until the next major interruption takes my attention elsewhere.

Today I want to just let you read this article on the truth of the Asian art and antiques business and market. If you have ever bought, are thinking of buying again, or want to start buying, if you are experienced, a novice, and especially if you think you know it all, I urge you to tough out this long article and read it from start to finish. It will be well worth your time for the education you will get on the truth of this industry, especially in China. It is also a good way for me to promote my consulting services to be frank, because I can save you tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars if you just spend a bit with me consulting before you buy! I have done it before and will do it again! I could have saved one lawyer well over $300,000.00 if he would have just set his ego aside and called me before he bought! However, instead, he called me to appraise the pieces he had already bought and I had to tell him ALL of his monumental “ivory” pieces were not only fakes, but either bone (1) or resin (3)! I am here to help stop the you from getting cheated, but you must ask for the help, or I will only be around to break your hearts later, telling you that you got ripped off! If you are willing to spend thousands, let alone millions, wouldn’t it be a wise investment to hire me for a small percentage of that price to make sure? Buy the way, just in case you were wondering, this does not just happen in China, but every country in the world to one degree or another! Caveat Emptor is the key phrase in the art and antiques industry at every level from sellers, dealers, appraisers and experts!

Have a nice read: http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/china-art-fraud/

Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, M.S., ISA, CAGA.

President, Greg C. Brown & Associates, Inc.

Minnesota Sub-Chapter Chairman, The Explorers Club.

1-888-815-9430

Info@asianappraisals.com

Greg Brown portrait. Photo by Andrew Collings.

“Integrity has no need of rules.”
:Albert Camus