Subject:Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Super Wed, Apr 18, 2018
I can surely understand your frustration in not being able to sell your "jade" urn especially it appears you had done a lot of researches before listing it and I felt for you since you are selling it to raise medical expenses.
Unfortunately, sometime a jade piece would usually only fetch what buyers thought it was worth. Sometime a good imitation piece could indeed be sold for a lot of money, especially to people who thought they could get a bargain. These days, you almost would get what you paid (or less).
You had correctly identified the jade material of your urn as Xiu Yan jade or serpentine. However, I do not believe it could be called bowenite which is usually reserved for serpentine that could not be scratched (by metal). This term is basically used in the States and is not really an academic term for any rocks. I believe your piece can be scratched and therefore is basically serpentine and not bowenite. This type of dark green serpentine look almost like dark green nephrite jade and can only be identified by either a scratch test or a density test. The material is much older than those used in today's China, which are mostly celadon (light green) serpentine that looks like celadon nephrite. Many fake celadon nephrite pieces were now being listed on eBay. Buyers beware. (please see my other thread)
Your list said your piece is pre-1900, that would make it at least a Qing dynasty piece (before 1911). Unfortunately I cannot recall ever seeing any large Qing dynasty carvings that were made of this type of Xiu Yan jade (serpentine), in any credible jade books or in any auctions of renown auction houses. If you have seen any, please post them here. Please understand that in late Qing dynasty prices of both Hetian nephrite jade (white, dark green or celadon)and jadeite were no longer highly regulated and had come down a lot. During early Republic (after 1911, during 1920s and 1930s), beautiful green Siberian nephrite jade were widely available. Yet labor in making larger jade carvings were still quite high, therefore it was almost unimaginable that anybody would spend a lot of time and money in making any large jade carvings with cheap Xiu Yan jade (serpentine) during Qing dynasty or early Republic. No pun intended.
Secondly, upon looking at pictures of your jade urn, based on the quality of its carving, IMHO, that is simply no chance for it to be either a Qing dynasty or an early Republican piece. Again, no pun intended.
Thirdly, if you look at the first picture in your listing (from left), the large Chinese character appears to be "Shou" (longevity) which means this piece was supposedly a gift to celebrate somebody's birthday. Yet there are so many different types of figures on it (even with a pheonix?), which is almost like a tourist piece that was made in a haste by mixing everything in one single piece. What is the purpose of it? In short, I do not believe anybody would present this piece as a birthday gift in Qing dynasty or in early Republic.
Fourthly, this piece had a few defects which further deter any buyers; its starting price of $699, plus $96.29 and add $42.71 for UPS professional packaging. Also, add $2.50 per $100.00 of purchase price for calculating insurance, IMHO, is much too high for any novice jade collectors to bid on it.
In short, if you are really serious about selling it, I strongly suggest you to start it with a much lower bid (e.g. $9.99 or even 99 cents) and let the market decides its price. I had seen nicer jade carvings, selling for thousands of dollars on eBay. Today there are a lot of rich jade collectors in China who would not hesitate to bid up any jade pieces that appear to be authentic. Therefore, IMHO, to pay ultra high prices for any jade carvings that are listed on eBay based on pictures alone, can be very hazardous.
Lastly, thanks for sharing your jade urn with us and please understand that I am no jade expert and therefore if I had inadvertently offended your jade urn, please accept my apology in advance.
In comparison, please see this Qing dynasty large Spinach-green jade censer also with a Shou character: