The Balogo Tibor - How Much Would You Pay for It?
- One more try to put a dollar (peso ) value to this find.
By: Pat Fetizanan, 5/21/2011
Depending on the intended use, the Tibor's worth is probably in the range of a few kilos of fish to several tolenadas of copra. The Tibor, unearthed in Kapudao, Balogo in 2010 has given speculators a field day as they try to put value to it. The following is an attempt to put down some basic numbers using historical information and good old gut feeling.
Appraising an antique is fraught with danger to one's ego and integrity. It is best left to people who breathe nothing but dust from the ancient past and make a living as auctioneers. Even then, the appraisal is still like shooting darts. There are no correct answers, only ranges. So many factors are involved in this analysis including but not limited to ---age of item, condition, rarity of the find and human emotion. Prospective buyers will price it way low..the sellers will price it way high.
Being a retiree and a current beach bum, I tried to muster enough courage to see how much is it worth. After all, I will most probably lose only my ego and respect of a few friends.
What is this Tibor?
Let's start by removing some mystique about the subject. From visual inspection: The Tibor is a glazed earthen jar with lion figures. It is about 17 inches in diameter (if my recollection is correct) and a little bit taller than this. The jar body is broken into several pieces (as many as 7 ?) with a cover still in mint condition. From historical perspective: It may have been made in China during the Ming Dynasty. It could have arrived in Banton as early as the 1300s. When brought to Banton, it could have contained wine, spices or other food stuff. Who knows what it contained when it was put into its hiding place! It could have been filled with vinegar, salted fish, spices and yes… maybe even gold! Or even just Banton air!! We'll never know! The finders tell us it was full of coconut crabs (ramil) when found.
Fig. 1 - Balogo Tibor with its cover. Unearthed in Kapudao, Balogo in 2010, the jar is most likely from China's Ming Dynasty ( 1368-1644)
Fig 2. Samples of earthen jars of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). From left to right, large Martaban, jar with Incised Peonies, brown Jarlet with handles and . The Bologo Tibor bears resemblance to these jars..
Social interaction between Chinese traders and islands of Romblon can be traced to as early as the 13th century. The Chinese bartered their porcelain wares and other products for cotton, yellow wax, pearls, tortoise shells, medicinal betel nuts and abaca cloth. The jars were also used to store their food, wines and spices. Limahong, the infamous pirate roamed the Philippine seas but came much later in the 1600s. During this period China was being ruled by the Ming Dynasty (1344 – 1830). The Balogo Tibor was therefore most likely made at this time.
There are scientific methods for determining the age of potteries the most common of which are the Thermo luminescence dating and spectrometric analysis. Both are expensive often exceeding the cost of the items themselves.
What is it Worth ?
Appraised values of jars and other porcelain resembling the Balogo Tibor are unfortunately not readily available. The best that I have done is to present samples as shown below:
Fig. 3 - Historical references for potential value of Balogo Tibor
|A.||Simple glazed earthen jar probably less than 50 years old||$40 (P1,800)|
|B.||Jar from the 1830 Wanli shipwreck||$65 (P2,600)|
|C.||Bataan jar, several hundred years old||$450 (18 000)|
|D.||Simple jar thousands of years old||$2,400 (P96,000)|
|E.||Jar from the Neolithic period, 10,000 years ago||$3,000 (P120,000)|
|F.||Ming Dynasty, sold by Christie International in HK in 2007|
(not an earthen jar but a decorative porcelain vase)
There's the range of values. All items were in mint condition when sold – that means not broken.
Now let's come to the hard part --- value analysis. Remember again that the Balogo Tibor is an earthen glazed jar, made during the Ming Dynasty (as old as 500 to 700 years old) and broken into several pieces. The analysis and rationale follow:
|1.||Used as a Storage for bagoong, vinegar or spices |
One can buy comparable plastic or glass container to serve the same purpose for this amount. Besides, the Tibor needs to be glued together before it is used
|2.||Used as Work of Art for local tourism display|
This is the estimated economic benefit that will result from increase in local tourism traffic eager to see the Tibor.
|3||Used as Work of Art for museum display or part of a private collection|
In mint condition, the Balogo Tibor could be as much as 3 times the Bataan jar above -- or roughly P60,000 for two reasons: The Balogo Tibor has more intricate designs and appears to be several centuries older. However, it is broken and is probably worth only 25% of this value or $400 (P16,000).
|4||Used as a Work of Art based on a personal emotion, fondness for Ming Dynasty pieces, gut feeling, the Tibor could be worth more… how much more is a big question.|
Join the fun for surely this will not be the end of this "appraisal". Now is anyone interested in a dart board?