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Chapter 76 – Antique Seller

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Feng Yu himself was not sure what antique was this incense burner. But he was sure that this is indeed an antique. He wanted to know which dynasty was it from and how much was it worth.

Fu Guangzheng heard Feng Yu and laughed embarrassedly: “Ha, ha, Mr. Feng, stop joking. Since you know about it, why did you still place it in that corner?”

Feng Yu rolled his eyes and said: “I didn’t have time to keep it. You see, I didn’t even have the time to clean it up properly. A history professor once told me it was worth 1 million, but another expert told me that this was worth 2 million. I am not so sure how much is this worth. How much is this type of incense burner selling for in Hong Kong?”

What Fu Guangzheng said earlier had indirectly admitted this burner was worth at least a few hundred thousand. Feng Yu wanted to know how much Fu Guangzheng was willing to offer. If the price is right, he might just sell it to him now.

Feng Yu does not have the hobby of collecting antiques. The antiques in his previous life were so expensive was because the market was manipulated by some people.

Some collectors and auctioneers used the history, culture, economy to raise the prices of the antiques and were still well received by many.  

There were some who were not interested in collecting antiques but collected antiques for economic gains. Using their company’s name, they auction back the antiques and declare as “office supplies” to avoid tax. The value of office supplies after 5 years of “depreciation” would become 0.

After the value of the “office supplies” became zero on the company’s books, these antiques can go into their own pockets. Also, these 5 years, the value of these antiques would have appreciated. This way, a significant amount of taxes was avoided and was still a stable investment. When in need of money, one can use these antiques as collaterals and obtain loans from the banks.

In the future years, many used this method and finally, the government came out with a policy to regulate the antique market, but there were still many loopholes.

Feng Yu had no intention of entering the antique market. He knew nothing about antiques. In his previous life, he heard lots of stories of people getting cheated when buying antiques. Furthermore, if he just invests in the financial market, he is guaranteed to earn more than investing in antiques. 

Fu Guangzheng put on his gloves again and took out a small brush and magnifying glass from his bag. He brought these along with him where ever he goes. He just did not take them out earlier.

After Fu Guangzheng cleaned the burner, this 3-legged incense burner restored its former radiance. Fu Guangzheng was staring and caressing the burner as if the burner was his lover’s body.

“1 million. 1 million HK dollars. Mr. Feng, are you willing to sell it to me?”

This thing was worth 1 million? And it’s in Hong Kong dollars? The Hong Kong dollars was valued higher than RMB!

This price was much higher than Feng Yu’s expectations. Initially, he thought that as long as he could get back the few hundred thousand he paid to Cripple Wang, it was enough. But now, it seems like he could get a significant profit too.

Cripple Wang must be unaware that this incense burner was a valuable antique. If he had known about this, he would have sent his men to get back the burner long time ago. Feng Yu did not expect that small gesture, would give him a significant profit.   

“Mr. Fu, do you think I would sell it?” Feng Yu smiled and looked at Fu Guangzheng.

Feng Yu would not sell this burner unless Fu Guangzheng offered 2 million. At this time next year, Feng Yu can still use this burner as collateral to get a loan from the bank. He could get at least a 5 million loan, and in 1 years’ time, he can turn the 5 million into more than 20 million. If he gets 1 million now, he can’t turn it into 5 million in 5 years.

Fu Guangzheng had a disappointed look on his face. It seems like Feng Yu wants to keep it for his own collection. If he were to offer a higher price, he might not get any profits.

“Mr. Feng also likes to collect antiques? What treasures are in your collection? Let me take a look.” Fu Guangzheng said while taking off his gloves and wiping his hands with a handkerchief.

Feng Yu waved his hands: “I just started and do not many collections. You seem to be an expert in antiques. You must have collected a lot of good stuff.”

What just started collecting, he didn’t even start.  But he was curious about the antique trade. At least he felt that antiques were better than art pieces.

In his previous life, art pieces were deliberately traded at high prices to gain profits and some were used for money laundering. You can bring a worthless painting to an auction house for auction. Then you give your money to another party and this party will use your money to buy your worthless painting at a high price. This way, your money would come from a legitimate source. There are also a few idiots who blindly follow trends and bought art pieces at high prices. In the end, they were not able to sell off these art pieces and they have to swallow the bitter pill.

When Feng Yu said that he wants to look at Fu Guangzheng’s collection, Fu Guangzheng had a proud look on his face. Although he was not considered a collector and he only does this for profits, but he had still made a hefty amount this year.

This trip to Bing City, he had visited a few old houses nearby and bought a few pieces of antiques.

At his hotel room, Fu Guangzheng showed Feng Yu his collection from this trip. Snuff bottles, porcelains, seals, jade pendants, hairpins, ancient books.

Feng Yu looked at these items for a while and felt that although these things were pretty, he will definitely not pay high prices for them.

Looking at Feng Yu’s uninterested look, Fu Guangzheng said sourly: “These items can’t be compared to your Xuande burner. That burner of yours is an authentic Xuande burner. The value will definitely appreciate by several folds in 2 years’ time. But I can still get at least doubled profits from these items when I get back to Hong Kong.” 

“There are so many people collecting antiques in Hong Kong?”

“In Hong Kong, not many. But there are many in Southeast Asia.”

Feng Yu finally understood. Hong Kong in this era was still a British colony and the financial hub of Asia. There were more than 100 Chinese Billionaires from Southeast Asia alone. These people are the ones who can push the prices up several times.

“Mr. Feng, are you interested in joining me in this business?” This was Fu Guangzheng’s really objective. He was short of capital and can’t increase his operations. Feng Yu had the funds and also had connections with the Soviets. If he is able to get some oil paintings or something from Europe, it will definitely be profitable.

“Sorry. I am not interested in this trade. I bought that incense burner was to help a friend with his financial woes. Mr. Fu, are you from Hong Kong’s Fu family?” Feng Yu suddenly asked.

“You know about the Fu family? Mr Feng went to Hong Kong before?” Fu Guangzheng looked at Feng Yu curiously. Someone from the most northern province in China actually knew about Hong Kong’s Fu family? How did he know about this?

“I heard from a friend. The Fu family is a big family in Hong Kong. Every member of the family are elites in Hong Kong’s upper society. Which “Rong” generation is your father?”

Fu Guangzheng was shocked. Feng Yu even know about his family’s seniority. This meant that Feng Yu had already found out his background.    

“My father is Fu Rongjin.”

Feng Yu thought for a while. He had no impression of Fu Rongjin. The most famous from Fu family’s “Rong” generation was comparable to Superman Li. But that person is definitely not Fu Rongjin.

Feng Yu showed a shocked expression, and this made Fu Guangzheng felt proud. Although he was not his father’s favorite, his father had never stopped him from using his name when doing business.

He wanted to make use of this used car business to prove himself to his father.

Translator Notes: Traditional Chinese families have this practice of using one same character for the names of the same generation. E.g., Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his brother Lee Hsien Yang. Famous Hong Kong actors, Michael Hui, Ricky Hui and Sam Hui had the same character in their names.   

Superman Li is the nickname for one of Asia most influential entrepreneurs, Li Ka-Shing. He is the 23rd wealthiest man in the world as of Jan 2018 (taken from Wikipedia).  

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