Tips: Pricing Asian Art Listings

Turnover Creates Cash Flow
pricing asian art

Check List

Considerations for pricing Chinese, Japanese and asian Art in General

Researching Actual Prices

Looking online for realistic prices that can attact Dealers and Collectors

Time To Sell And Cash Flow

Realistically how much time can you afford to sell something? Businesses need cash flow to pay bills and build inventory.

Pie in The Sky Never Fed Anyone

and never works

Keep your pricing down to earth.  Unrealistic pricing is the number one cause of failure in in the Antique business, not just with Asian art.   

If you’ve overpaid, get rid of it and refine your buying skills.  


Check List


Pricing Asian Art requires a bit of work and is an ESSENTIAL aspect of being a dealer.

The first question that needs asking: Is the object rare and or is it in-demand and perhaps not terribly rare?

Objects can be extremely rare and simultaneously have virtually no demand.  An object can also have plenty of demand but ONLY within certain pricing parameters. 

If you offer an item with a price outside of the norm, you’ll end up owning it for a very long time.  What you paid for it has no impact on what someone else will pay for it.  

If you for example paid a collector retail price, or what a fancy store with deep pockets on Madison Avenue can sell an item for, you’re probably up-side-down on it price-wise.   

Big city dealers can typically wait a lot longer than you can to stay in business.  They also have a much wealthier customer base than most dealers. 


Do not fail to take into account when pricing an item its condition. 

For example: Your Kangxi dish with even a small chip or brief hairline is not worth what a perfect example is worth.  So don’t kid yourself, it’s worth about 60% to 80% less. 

Always be honest with yourself. 

Current Demand-Desirability

When you learn the value of an item you wish to sell is worth, next find out how long it would typically take to sell and how often they sell.

You may well find that selling it for a bit under the standard market price is your best option. Selling something for 80% of market value in a month is almost a much better option than waiting 6 months to get full price unless you have VERY deep pockets. 

Getting paid and turning over the money quickly is for most dealers the smartest business model.  “Wash-Rinse-Repeat” can be very profitable.   

Research Asian Art Price Histories Online

Rule Number One

How To Establish Good Habits For Pricing Asian Art

If you do not know through a deep well of experience what something is worth, don’t waste time by placing some random figure on an object based on what you paid for it, you’re not likely to be correct high or low.  Look it up.  You are a business owner, so act accordingly.

Be a very disciplined buyer, leave your emotions out of it at all times.  Buying well is the toughest part of the business, selling smartly is the second part. 

Handling Comparables

Once you find 10 or 15 similar items (the more the better) known as “comps”.

Ignore the anomalies. The anomalies typically are the highest and lowest values you can find, they are not reliable indicators 90% of the time. 

Pay attention ONLY to the price range of the most typical examples. Then average them out.  

If the average is about what YOU paid, you probably paid too much and will likely have little success in selling it in a reasonable period of time at a higher price because YOU overpaid.

Going ahead, simply sell it as close to what you paid as possible, learn your lesson and turn the money over by acquiring a more favourably priced item to sell. 

Remember, the market doesn’t care what you paid, and won’t likely be willing to bail you out for your mistake.  So get out of it and buy something else. 

Where To Look For Comparable Prices

Some of the most reliable places to look up prices are on:

  1. LiveAuctioneers.Auction Results
  2. Invaluable account that gives access to their Auction results pages, it can be equally handy too. 
  3. eBay from reputable sellers. 
  4. Ruby Lane (a handy back up source)
Where Not Too Look For prices

Many sites have prices for Asian art that are terrible indicators in many cases of true market value.  Including: 

  1. 1StDibs
  2. Etsy

Sellers on 1StDibs and Etsy both typically have prices which can be very misleading as to true value. 

The Time to sell

Cashflow, the lifeblood of all businesses

Without cash flow, you have no personal income and lesser and lesser amounts of money with which to buy inventory. 

So make your cashflow steady and always keep it in mind. 

Don't ARGUE with market reality

The market tells you what your item is worth.

While you may disagree with it, your opinion is probably wrong.

So save yourself a lot of headaches and price your objects according to the prices the market says are correct. 

About Offers

There’s an old adage, “your first customer is your best customer”. Encourage offers and assume folks will be making them often. 

So price accordingly and be prepared to accept an amount that makes a sale happen, that also earns you some money and makes the buyer happy. 

Having repeat customers is a massive advantage.  Most experienced dealers will accept offers 10% to 20% below asking price. 

Practice Makes Perfect

It takes Practice

Do your homework. Compare your item honestly to other examples and stay current with prices, they do go up and down at times. 

Ask Questions

If you’re not getting the results you’re hoping for, ask a fellow dealer for his or her honest opinion and for some help. 

Keep Track

As things sell, make some notes, pay attention to the little things that may impact sales positively and negatively. 

Create an EMAIL list of past buyers to help you stay in touch to effectively build an ongoing relationship.  This is crucial to all businesses these days that rely in particular on the WEB for business. 

Pricing and Doing Business

With favourable pricing, good descriptions, accurate condition reports, crisp photos and pleasant communication, your business will grow.  After the sale become proficient at shipping too

Best of luck and thanks for using this site, it’s your site too after all.