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藏品轶事 | The Honest Antique Dealer

A Daoguang Period Snuff Bottle Purchased from Dunt King in 1967, HongKong.

In the 1960s in Hong Kong, the dealer who was most respected was Dunt King. Not the most successful ( there were dealers with bigger names, more glamorous stores, and his brother was one of them), but Dunt King’s opinion was the most trusted.

Dunt King was a small, stout, elderly man, and he had a younger, shy, scholarly assistant whose name I’ve forgotten. His store on Wellington Street was very austere; practically nothing on display; everything was in boxes, apart from a few Qing dynasty knickknacks in the window that nobody in those days valued. If you made it as far as his upstairs showroom, he would show you what he wanted you to see, according to his estimate of your taste. He spent as much time watching his customers’ responses as they were expected to spend examining the antiques. If he was in a bad mood he would show you nothing but junk. I was young and eager to understand, sometimes asking questions that must have made me look silly, but he was always patient, even on a bad day.

Once, in a moment of sentiment, I blurted out: “You are the only honest antique dealer I know.” He smiled, patted my hand, and murmured: “Thank you, but you must learn that there is no such thing as an honest antique dealer.”


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