Bonsai tree: Million Dollar (Plus!) Bonsai in Perspective

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bonsai tree: Million Dollar (Plus!) Bonsai in Perspective

I just received this photo from Bill Valavanis. It’s that Million Dollar Japanese white pine we featured a few days ago. Now you can get a little perspective (size-wise at least).

Bill’s remarks

Here are Bill Valavanis‘ remarks that he sent along with the photo.

Hi Wayne,

I’ve just returned home from Japan and saw your post on my friend’s bonsai, the Million Dollar specimen.

The million dollar bonsai WAS actually sold and at the current exchange rate on the sale day was $1,282,000. The tree is a grafted Miyajima Japanese five-needle pine which has not been on display since the 1940′s, but I’m not sharing that photo with you. It is approximately 300 years old.

Seiji Morimae (S-Cube) sold the tree and in fact his face is in your photo in the background, but attached is a full size old photo of the bonsai when I first saw it on November 14, 2009. At that time Mr. Morimae had just ordered a custom made fine-quality container from Japan. Yes, the this large size bonsai is very powerful when actually appreciated in person.

The bonsai was sold to a private collector from Fukushima Prefecture, not one of the 400 Chinese who attended the ASPAC Convention. Many of the prices were inflated because of the Chinese buyers, especially the containers.

You mentioned that you did not know if this bonsai was worth 1 million dollars or if Kimura’s bonsai were worth even more. Please remember that this bonsai has been in careful loving training and care for 300 years. Most of Kimura’s famous masterpieces have not been in training for more than, say, 40 to 50 years. Time and respect for age are important factors when evaluating, and pricing, bonsai which most westerners fail to appreciate.

Hope this answers some of your questions.


A little follow-up

When I responded to thank Bill I mentioned that some of the trees that Kimura had worked on were venerable specimens that had been handed down over the years and that some of these might have values that way up there too. Here’s Bill’s reply:

The value of Japanese bonsai is not as high as it used to be in the past because of the declining market. Yes, Mr. Kimura has worked on many old and famous bonsai masterpieces and their prices may have similar high value. But to actually get their value in yen is another topic. Mr. Morimae sold his bonsai.

The 3rd US National Bonsai Exhibition is coming soon
Speaking of Bill, this is probably a good time to remind you that there are only six more months until the 3rd US National Bonsai Exhibition. This might also be a good time to remind you that the wonderful photo albums from the first two Exhibitions are still available at Stone Lantern. Their numbers are limited and they will not be reprinted.

Source: Bonsai Bark


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