(2) calligraphy scrolls

Jun 08, 2021. 20:09 UTC
(2) calligraphy scrolls
United States of America

Chinese antiques

Acquired from

For sale

(2) Chinese calligraphy scrolls, 68" x 14" each. Items show a lot of wear and creasing, some tears and splitting.


Presented as a wedding gift in 1995 from an American relative living in China.

Answered within 4 days
Jun 12, 22:56 UTC
By Leah I.

Fair Market Value

$50 - $100 USD

Insurance Value

$150 USD
What does this mean?

Thank you for contacting Mearto and I apologize for the delay. This is a pair of Chinese calligraphy scrolls. Calligraphy scrolls vary in price considerably based on factors like condition, provenance and skill. The seals on these are not identifiable but brushwork is skillful and balanced.
Unfortunately, my Chinese language skills are spotty when it comes to reading calligraphy, but there are several calligraphy groups on Facebook, for example, that may help decipher the meanings if you post a picture.
To speak very generally, a single scroll is around $50 to $100 with no provenance. The damage on these is significant, so they would fetch the lower end of that at most. Please let me know if I can assist further.

David starobin Jun 13, 14:12 UTC

Thank you, Leah, for your knowledgeable assessment of my scrolls.
I appreciate your expertise, and will follow up by looking for a calligraphy group on Facebook.
- David

Leah i. Jun 14, 23:15 UTC

My pleasure. I hope you can get a good translation.

David starobin Jun 20, 22:13 UTC

Hi, Leah -
I hope you're sitting down!
I was unable to get a translation for the scrolls, or any feedback at all when I posted questions and photos on some sites as you suggested.
So I listed them on eBay anyway, basically using the same photos and description that I used here on Mearto.
The auction just ended and the pair of scrolls sold for $1,691.00 plus shipping.
What a surprise for both of us, right?
Hopefully, the buyer will be able to give me some information about the provenance of this item. I just hope they're not worth a whole lot more and I got ripped.
I doubt it, considering there were over 20 bids from ten different bidders from the US, Taiwan and China. The Chinese and Taiwanese bidders were neck and neck up until the last moment, when a US bidder not a half hour away from me won. I've seen this happen a lot on eBay when folks have automatic bids. An apparent winner get beat out at the last second.
Anyway, it turned out really well for me. I thought you like to hear the outcome, and I understand how difficult it is to appraise an item such as this. This is in the realm of museum curators, and such.

Leah i. Jun 23, 15:50 UTC

Wow, that's wonderful! I'm so happy for you!

Leah i. Jun 23, 17:05 UTC

If you are able to learn any specific information, I would absolutely love to know more.

David starobin Jun 26, 21:47 UTC

I'll be sure to let you know.

David starobin Jun 29, 00:04 UTC

The buyer sent me the following:

Yeah I have received the scrolls but because I am now in China and I will let my friend transfer the scrolls to me this week by parcel.

The artist of the calligraphy I think it is written by a Chinese bachelor maybe named Zheng jiagai living in the end of Qing dynasty and died in 1941. It is written to Mr Lan.And are you got this scrolls from your family?

Leah i. Jun 29, 00:22 UTC

Wow. Thank you for sharing that with me.

David starobin Jun 29, 03:31 UTC

The buyer sent more:
Oh I see. This calligraphy writer is a famous scholar in the later Qing dynasty,and he is killed by Japanese in 1940’ when Japan aggress China in the World War II ,he unwilling to cooperate with the aggressors, so Chinese thought Mr Zheng jiagai as a hero.

Leah i. Jun 30, 20:08 UTC

So cool!

David starobin Jun 30, 22:21 UTC

I googled the artist and learned that his art is worth $1,700 to $25,000. At $1,890, I'm hoping mine was one of his lesser works.

Leah i. Jul 02, 20:48 UTC

Yeah. A good resource for Chinese art is Sotheby's Hong Kong. You could consider sending them a picture and seeing what they say before you ship it off. I don't know what eBay's policy is on delays though.

David starobin Jul 03, 03:18 UTC

Ah, actually I sent the scrolls off to the winning bidder. Per eBay protocol the seller must send the item within 48 hours of the end of the auction.

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