How to start collecting?by Sten Sjostrand on 04/08/10
I often get the question: -how to start collecting. The answer tends to be lengthy but usually include -Rob a bank and buy what you fall in love with. It is true that good antiques are costly. Even fakes made yesterday are offered at a high price which, supposedly, helps deceiving the buyer to believe that they view a genuine antique piece. Here at Nanhai Marine Archaeology we do not have such problem as ALL our artifacts are genuinely old and from the date stated by us. So, dont worry about authenticity, concentrate on what you like.
You can collect one type or form from each of our shipwrecks so that you can see the development of that type or form over the centuries. You can also stick to artifacts from one shipwrecks (from one time in history) and collect all the different forms in that cargo. Or, why not just stick to celadon wares, teapots blue and white porcelains or bowls, plates or uprights from all wrecks and all ages?
Do not try to get an entire collection in one day. Take your time, think about it, read about it and by all means start with lower quality pieces which are more affordable. It is easier and fun to look for the better quality pieces later and then -sell off the initial pieces.
And, whatever you do, do not clutter up the bookshelf with too many artifacts as each of them will look cheap. Give each artifact the respect it deserves and provide ample room for each piece.
Finally; read all you can find about your artifacts. When you know the background, the story and the development of each of your pieces, they will actually communicate with you! This is very much so when it comes to painted designs which carries symbolic and auspicious meanings. See: http://www.thewanlishipwreck.com/Medallions.html and you will, after some time, understand what the decorator tried to tell you 400 years ago!
Remember the most important thing about a personal collection is that it reveals the collectors interest and knowledge. This is what makes any meaningful collection interesting and valuable.
After all, there is no need to rob a bank. Many of our artifacts are very affordable and most important; absolutely genuinely old!