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Considering the large choice offered in antique shops, it is still  not possible to find many genuine pieces in Thailand. Experts from the National Museum assume that nine out of ten pieces are imitations. However, often they are so beautifully made that even local dealers cannot see the difference. Especially in and around Chiang Mai the production of antiques has developed into a small industry and production is increasing! So, be aware and careful – genuine antiques are very rare!
Furthermore you have to consider that you need  permission to export from the Department of Fine Arts for every antique piece. These are issued only for genuine pieces. Without such a permission, no Buddha statues – either old, made old or new – are allowed to leave the country. This law needed to be implemented because of systematic abuse, for example the modification of statues into table lamps. For every believing Thai it must be a horrible thought to screw a light bulb into the holy head of Buddha!
Prices for genuine or reproduced pieces normally negotiable. So, you need  time, patience and some special knowledge.
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