Collecting: antique export silver

Carlos Prata has sold export silver for 25 years. Photo: Dickson Lee

The market for Chinese antique export silver is having a dramatic reversal of fortune. Export silver, as the name suggests, originally catered to a Western audience, and included royalty and aristocrats.

Monday, 25 February, 2013, 2:59pm

Collecting old notes and coins

Clockwise from top left: Netherlands Trading Society 1900 10 dollar note; Pei Yang Tientsin Bank note from 1910; Bank of Communications one dollar note from 1913; Bank of Communications five dollar note. Photos: Archives International

"Thirty-eight hundred in the room. Four thousand on the net, 5,000, 6,000! Bid, bid, bid!" the auctioneer calls out. His voice carries that sing-song quality that all auctioneers seem to have been trained to possess but it's one in the afternoon, four hours into a rare banknotes auction and it's starting to show a slight bit of strain.

4 Feb 2013 - 4:33am

Swathed in tradition

Vera Waters owns more than 360 tailor-made cheongsams. Photo: Warton Li

Vera Waters knows a thing or two about cheongsams. The vibrant 77-year-old, who still keeps an astonishingly full schedule running her skincare business, owns more than 360 tailor-made cheongsams. She is the woman who museums seek out when they want to hold an exhibition on the traditional Chinese dress.

31 Jan 2013 - 11:48am

Advice for new collectors of art

Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, founder of Puerto Roja. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, from Mexico, is the first art dealer in Hong Kong dedicated to Latin American art. She started the Puerta Roja gallery and is a board member of the the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association. She talks about the trends she sees in local art collecting.

What encouraged you to open a gallery in Hong Kong?

14 Jan 2013 - 7:38am

Old and rare children's books

Photo: Lok Man Rare Books

Lorence Johnston wants me to smell an old book. He tilts a hefty brown tome at least 30cm long with the binding facing away and gently flips the pages towards me. I expect a mustiness but I get a warm cigar-like smell with faint vanilla. "That's a 300-year-old book smell," he says.

7 Jan 2013 - 4:31am

Snuff bottles sure to attract attention

Bonhams is the leading international auction house for Chinese snuff bottles and another stunning selection will be sold this week.

Extraordinary results were achieved in sales of Parts I, II, III and IV of the Mary and George Bloch Collection. Every snuff bottle that was put up for auction was sold and world records were broken in 11 categories,

21 May 2012 - 12:00am

Figures of fun

PEZ is famous for having a distinctive cartoon head on each of its sweet dispensers. For this week's top 10, we ask our junior reporters whose head they would put on their dispensers, if they were one of the PEZ designers

1 Confucius

If the dispenser represents Confucius, the sweets would be the words of wisdom that he dispensed every time he spoke.

20 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Sweet little collectibles

Sweets used to be wrapped in paper and foil. Then one day PEZ came along and changed everything.

The Austrian brand is famous for its sweet dispensers with their distinctive caps modelled after popular cartoon characters.

Flip the cap and a candy pops right out.

17 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Spink set to stamp its name on China

Wealthy Chinese are expanding their investment horizons and looking beyond property and shares to stamps, coins, and rare banknotes, says Olivier Stocker.

30 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Rule change would stop firms hoarding land

Mainland property developers should start construction on idle sites within three months of receiving a government order, according to the latest amendments to draft rules aimed at curbing land hoarding.

The Ministry of Land and Resources on Wednesday posted revised draft restrictions - containing 34 rules yet to come into effect - on its website for public comment.

23 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Greet expectations

It's the last shopping day before Christmas, and the clock is ticking. Luckily for the complacent, forgetful and downright slothful among us, we still have time to send a Christmas card.

23 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Invest only in the best artworks and learn how the market works

High-quality works of art are not only good vehicles for the well-heeled to diversify their investment portfolios, they also provide years of enjoyment, according to experts at the 'Timeless Treasures' event.

14 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

Collections to consider

Hongkongers are great collectors - but whether it be serious treasures or Hello Kitty dolls, there are guidelines to help build an eye-catching mixture, regardless of what it is you accumulate.

The first is to decide whether you want to make the display public, as a centrepiece in the home, in your bedroom or a specially dedicated cabinet.

7 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Buyers put Chinese stamp on market

Since investing in stocks looks grim these days, you might try adding postage stamps to your portfolio. No joke. They could be the world's most valuable commodity by weight.

12 Aug 2011 - 12:00am

Not over until it's oeuvre

Swiss-born Monique Burger and her husband, Max, are big spenders when it comes to contemporary art. Joining the ranks of billionaires Roman Abramovich and Francois Pinault, the Hong Kong-based couple are among the world's 200 most active collectors, according to ARTnews magazine.

25 Jul 2011 - 12:00am