I just got back from the 53rd. Antique Grand Fair in Kyoto. It happens about 3 times a year in Kyoto at the Pulse Plaza. Very interesting. I guessed the booth fee at 50,000 per space, my wife at 100,000 yen per space. I asked a dealer I know and found out it is about 130,000 yen per space. Multiply that by 330 spaces and you come up with 42,900,000 yen per show multiplied by 3 per year for 12,870,000 per year pre-expenses. That is about 160,000$ in dog years.
Talking to a few dealers and looking at the faces of a lot of others I concluded that not only were sales VERY low, read, almost zero, visitors were few and far between. Long time participants said that year on year sales have been declining.
I made a bee line for Yumekobo. Compare these two pages. This and this, in the second link you will notice the contact email has the same domain as the first, i.e., gomoku-do.com. So, to prove how late to the party I am. I guess Yumekobo puts on the Antique Grand Fair Kyoto. Looking on the Internet I stumbled across this, Gomoku-do is just on the Est side of the canal in Shinmozen Street (Doro). There is a small sign in front and an outside alleyway to get to the door. The owner is the sister of the Grand Antique Market Organizer (Ken). She is very elegant, kind and always stocks the shop with the very best top-of-the-line antiques. here. The reason I am interested in them is the last auction I attended in Nara I had heard about them in relation to the Fukumaru auction in Kyoto. I had asked a dealer I know in Nara if he knew anything about the Fukumaru auction. He said he was registered for it but never went. I asked about the level of antiques that are put on the block and he said that it IS Kyoto after all, the level is high but Yumekobo buys most of the stuff, pushing up the price. It was the first I had heard of Yumekobo. He also told me that some of the apprentices from Yumekobo were at the auction we were at in Nara. I went home and found the site I linked to above which was my first exposure to them. If you look at their listings you will see they all start at 1,000 yen and all seem to get very good prices considering it is the Internet. They also have an astounding 27,014 positive feedbacks, 0 negative feedbacks. That really impresses me as Yahoo Japan has as many ‘Want something for nothing’ types as Ebay.
My thoughts on Yumekobo is they are riding a wave that will eventually dominate the antiques scene, the Internet. I would say a large percentage of the people showing at the Grand Antiques Fair in Kyoto don’t have a website and are somewhat suspicious of them. They prefer face to face contact over the more impersonal Internet transaction.