Friday, November 6, 2015


I debated whether or not to put up this blog post as I didn't want to seem preachy but after thinking about it for some time, here it is. This started recently when I put up a classic Seto-Guro chawan by Arakawa Toyozo on my Trocadero marketplace a while back with POR (Price On Request) in regards to the price, a piece vetted in Japan by several reputable sources I should add. A number of inquirers asked about the price and admitted it was out of their price range or simply said thank you but two in particular were surprisingly different. The first thought the chawan should be drastically less expensive and the other thought the price positively outlandishly overpriced. This particular inquirer let me know that he had an extensive collection of potters like Kato Tokuro, Hamada Shoji, Kawai Kanjiro, Rosanjin and of course Arakawa Toyozo. In fact he owned two Arakawa chawan and both were bought for less than $1500. Truth be told, I am not a fan of discussing values and prices but in this instance I thought it somewhat important and relevant. I asked him about his pieces and he sent me links to the sites from which they were purchased and I have to admit the pots did not look anything like any Arakawa I have ever seen; making me more than a bit suspicious regarding their apocryphal and questionable origins. In the past couple of years I have seen several Toyozo chawan for sale at just under 4,000,000 yen so how can one expect and honestly believe that they can buy a chawan by one of the most important Japanese potters of the 20th century or any of these top level potters for less than $1500? In the end, I guess it is true, you get what you pay for.
Illustrated is a page/price list from a dealers catalogue for a Shino chawan by Kato Tokuro. I simply picked this piece to showcase how costly pots by the really big potters can sell for. At 12,000,000 yen (roughly $99,000 at todays conversion rate) it is easy to see that great work brings great prices. I guess I won't be buying this chawan any time soon.

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