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Great House Antiques
Great House Antiques, Appraiser/ Researcher/ Entrepreneur
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 2191
Experience:  30+ years in all aspects of the Antiques and Decorative Arts Industry
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THESE statures are not antiques, I worked with Pan Am and

Customer Question

THESE statures are not antiques, I worked with Pan Am and brought things back from around the world. I am not even sure what country I got these in, nor how much I paid, I just can't remember - our house looked like a travel agency - now we are down sizing and getting rid of most of the stuff. Have you any idea about these statues ? I think they are Japanese but again, not sure. Very frustrating to have these OldTimers's Brain Freeze Episodes. Thanks for your attention. What I want to know is, keep them ? sell them ? what value ? give them to my son ? dilemma. Gina
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Glenda B. replied 4 months ago.


Are these figures Ivory?

These are Vintage Chinese Wise Men, and Impresses. They look to date to the early part of the 20th C.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I don't know if they are ivory or not - I was traveling with my Pan Am for 48 years until we went under bankruptcy 12/03/1991 but I simply do not remember. Where would you suggest I try to find out if they are Ivory nor not - they could be - in the old days there was no ivory ban. I was a regular in Hong Kong shopping back in those lovely times.
Expert:  Glenda B. replied 4 months ago.


They are probably Ivory, you can do a hot needle test on them , under the bottom. Just heat a needle red hot, poke the bottom if they are ivory it kind of smells like a tooth being drilled at the dentist, if they are resin or a man made plastic type material they will smell like melting plastic or a acid smell..

I am headed out in just a bit, if I do not hear from you before I have to step out I will check on this as soon as I return, it will be today.. I also need to know what size these are.


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
THE figurines are 6 inches including the base. Is this the only way to know if they are Ivory ? Holding a red hot needle is not easy to manage - we have to improvise ? with some kind of clamp that will hold the needle securely. Thinking how to do that.
? When some one was buying things in Asia, how did they know if it was ivory or not ? I guess they did not know for sure. I got many things ( chess sets ) in Korea made of soapstone. What would the value be if they are Ivory ? more or less.
Expert:  Glenda B. replied 4 months ago.


The needle it's self does not have to be hot just the tip of the needle, this is done all the time to test items to find out if they are ivory or bone. You just heat up the end of the needle, is needed hold the other end with a cloth. It does not take much to poke a tiny hole in the item, to check this.

Here is a good site to help :

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
OK, I am away now for couple of weeks not at home, back end of the month. I question my ability to also identify the smell using a hot needle. I can't recall any special odor from drilling my teeth ? long time for that for me. Gina
Expert:  Glenda B. replied 4 months ago.


It is not just the smell, ivory and bone cannot be penetrated, resin or plastic can.


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Got it , when I get back home I will use the needle test . In any case, they are beautifully carved and attractive to look at. I wish I could remember where and when I got them. I have a total brain freeze on these.
Expert:  Glenda B. replied 4 months ago.

That is ok, the needle test will tell us if they are ivory.