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When I came home I noticed an old crack ...

I recently purchased a piece of chinese export porcelain. The item is a drum shaped teapot, c. 1790-1800 with entertwined strap porcelain handles. The teapot has profuse enamel decorations which are in the famille rose palette.

The problem is this: the teapot was advertised as in excellent condition, but when I received it I noticed there is a crack on one of the strap handles which is aged (darkened). The crack goes all the way through, and is approximately 1 to 1.5 cm from where the strap attaches to the pot. It may be a hairline as it does not appear to have been repaired. There is no other damage.

I paid $900 for the teapot and it really is beautiful! The person from whom I purchased it said it was export for the Persian market. I would like to know if and how much the crack will depreciate the value of the teapot should I decide to sell it in the future? In other words, will I get my money back should I sell it?

The person from whom I purchased has offered to refund my money, but I really like the pot. I have seen a few others in the same style, but none decorated so beautifully. Please give your opinion.

The best would be to get a refund

There is no fixed and absolute prices on antiques to refer to, so I can't say much about the price.

But, what I can tell is that there is a world of difference between a perfect teapot and a teapot with a crack in the handle. This is because perfect pieces are getting more and more rare as pieces are inevitable getting cracked over the time.

This will effect the value of the piece in the future. A cracked piece will "stand still" while perfect pieces will become more and more rare and therefore more and more expensive.

This considered, I would suggest you to ask for a full refund because the piece you thought you bought is not what you got, because it's future price development will be different from a perfect piece. A damaged piece will also be harder to sell.

If you ask for a full refund and the seller still thinks the price is right despite the crack, you are both back where you started and none is hurt.

If you bought the piece at auction and you decide to keep it, I think you should ask for a third or half the money back. You should also get the crack cleaned and secured. Otherwise you will always risk that you or any of your guests accidentally will make the handle come off completely at some time in the future and that is not fun for anybody.

Finally regarding "Persian market" I have always considered export pieces with entwined handles as, as typical first quality North American market as you could find. I can't rule out the Persian market though since that might indeed be the case just that I don't know it, but it do IS North American market.

Jan-Erik Nilsson