With all collecting purchases, one should always be aware that there are fakes out there. Navigating your way through offerings, especially online, can be tricky. If you’re in doubt, consider stopping by our forum and asking for a second opinion!
Antique opium paraphernalia is fairly rare, so there aren’t many vendors or shops that specialize in these items. Here are some that have an online presence, and ship worldwide:
DaGoodStuff has opium-related items in various categories – pipes, lamps, tools, and other accessories. They recently freshened up their website, and also frequently offer items on eBay. They are a good first stop for someone getting their feet wet collecting. (But as always – ask another collector for their opinion on a piece before taking the plunge!)
Antiquités Delalande is a high-end shop in Paris with an online presence. They offer strictly very fine (and costly) items, and put on an exhibition of opium antiques at the Louvre des Antiquaires in 2011.
La Malle du Gouverneur is an antique shop in New Caledonia that includes opium-related items as one of their specialties.
Ebay is a maze when it comes to opium-related antiques. Fakes abound, items are frequently mislabeled, and listings sometimes vanish before bidding is complete. One seller who specializes in opium items, and has offered some rare and unique specimens, is beldonkattleman.
While finding opium antiques in person in Asia is difficult, there are a few shops in Hong Kong that have good stuff:
True Arts and Curios, 89 & 91 Hollywood Road, is a cramped shop in Hong Kong’s antique district, packed to the rafters, including some fine opium paraphernalia. The shop seems to be two rooms with separate entrances on Hollywood Road, so don’t skip a door and miss half the shop. Also, upstairs is Indo-Siam Rare Books, a gem of a bookshop that sometimes has opium-related volumes.
C. Y. Tse Antiques & Collectibles, in the Landmark Prince mall, is a more upscale shop with a smaller amount of opium-related items, but is also worth checking out.