April Newsletter

Dear Friends

Welcome to our April newsletter.

I am writing to you this morning some 24 hours following my first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, feeling a little hungover and mildly nauseous, but even at my tender young age I accept the importance of it , and am so grateful to live in a country that has delivered it at the speed of light, let us just hope that the politicians can stop playing vaccine roulette and the whole world eventually gets the jab, because without that we are in danger of becoming a very insular island.

Japanese Pure Silver Manchurian Crane Okimono by “hasegawa Issei”

Japanese Silvered Bronze Hawk on Prunus Branch by Kazan

These Bird have flown !!

Following the uncertainty of post Brexit trade and the complications of the unknown tariffs and additional paperwork required to send items to our clients in the EU, and indeed worldwide, all seems to be working fine. Although early days I think it’s fair to say that the positives seem to fairly balance the negatives, and I can absolutely state with confidence that we have never been as busy as these past three months in terms of sales enquiries from overseas clients, yes , there are further tedious customs forms to fill out, but these are just a simple formality given our experience of regularly shipping to the rest of the world.

Perhaps unsurprisingly one of the knock-on effects of covid has been the unbelievable growth in online sales within the UK antiques and art industry, I read this week that internet traffic had risen from 9% to 25% of the overall sales since lockdown, this has resulted in something like the next 10-15 year growth expectancy achieved in just a year, quite remarkable.

To fairly balance my positive experience, and from an EU buyer’s perspective there are now varying import duties to be paid when purchasing goods in the UK, which of course is not ideal. One recent example was a client in Holland being faced with a 9% importation charge for the high value bird okimono’s pictured above, a not insignificant amount that would be slightly uncomfortable for any level of collector, and so he contacted me seeking a little help on the price to mitigate some of these charges. Unknown to many overseas buyers and a potentially crucial point on this import duty conundrum, is that a UK dealer like myself, dealing in Japanese works of art from the Meiji period is no longer subject to paying duty on their margin when exporting to the EU. Thus potentially leaving some extra financial headroom to work with. As a businessman who above all else enjoys placing his fine Japanese works of art into client’s collections around the world, I did not require the brains of an archbishop to work out this particularly straightforward financial conundrum. As a result I now have a new client in Holland as delighted with his purchases as I was to assist him in adding to his high-quality Japanese art collection.

If you find yourself in a similar position facing import duties on a piece that you covet, then please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be delighted to help wherever we can. steve@steveslyjapaneseart.com

I don’t know if it is because Spring is in the air ? but we have had a run on bird related items this last month, this delightful owl on stand from my exhibition book has once again found a new home in the east of Europe.

To fill the void these sales leave is always the next battle, but usually the most enjoyable aspect of the business, last week I had a very long day on the road visiting a UK based Japanese art collector now downsizing his collection, this was after months of pent up waiting from the initial invite until both he and his wife had received their jabs.

I couldn’t wait to hit the road, it was a journey filled with much excitement and a journey into the unknown as to what would be waiting for me? well actually quite a lot as it transpired, multiple items previously sold by me that I was pleased to see again, as well as many pieces that I had never previously set eyes upon.

After a warm welcome including breakfast and a few strong coffees, I was focussed on what was a lengthy but enjoyable financial jousting session, lasting some five hours. Eventually I set off for home with the car stuffed with treasures, including; ceramics by Kinkozan and Yabu Meizan, enamels by Hayashi Kodenji amongst others, and metalwork by numerous artists, many of which will appear on my gallery in the coming weeks, and one or two very special pieces are destined for the next exhibition book.

For now let’s continue the bird related theme, I invite you to have the first opportunity to view this magical inlaid shakudo Koro on its original hardwood stand, artist signed and sealed by the Nogawa company of Kyoto, one of three first sold by ourselves many years ago to an overseas collector, then subsequently repatriated and sold to the UK based client in question, these items in this condition are increasingly scarce finds, the other two smaller Koro that accompanied it have also just listed on www.steveslyjapaneseart.com

Finally, for this month I am delighted to announce that the directors of 2Covet have set the dates for the Chelsea Antiques fair, 21st -26th Sept, with a collectors preview by VIP invite only on Monday 20th, an event now celebrating its 70th birthday and this year coinciding with the famous Chelsea flower show, visit our website for the latest news and to register for complimentary tickets.

I hope to see many of you there.

Best wishes