About Canton China Virtual Museum

 Hello!  We are Hoby and Nancy Van Deusen, curators of the Canton China Virtual Museum.

Hoby has always had a collector’s bug throughout his entire life. He became interested in Canton in the early 1960s after graduating from Dartmouth College and the start of his NYC career in Trust and Estate banking. The reasons Hoby and Nancy collect Canton are because it is beautiful with its blue and white colors and its motif of a river, a bridge, willows and a scholar in a pagoda. As collectors, they like that Canton comes in many different forms. They also like that Canton has many practical every day uses. It is believed that it came into use in America as early as 1784 when the first clipper ship, Empress of China made its first trip. One of the first well known Canton owners was George Washington.

Hoby’s first Canton purchase was on February 25, 1964. It was an 8 1/2” soup bowl bought in NYC for $15. Purchases grew modestly in the next few years and were practical pieces like plates, platters and bowls. The first significant buy was a cider flagon in 1965 from a dealer for $125. 

In 1977, Hoby and Nancy were married. She has a strong interest in American History and collecting Canton became a mutual interest that they have pursued over the years together. Like most collectors, we have also bought Canton to sell as a business.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Julie Lindberg, our longtime friend and Canton expert, for helping us with suggestions to develop the Canton China Virtual Museum. Julie has encouraged us over the years to make this Canton resource available to all.


For centuries, the Chinese kept the formula for hard porcelain secret by not allowing foreigners into the country. All trade by ships was carried out in the port of Canton (now Guangzhou), which was reached after passing by Macau and Hong Kong and traveling up the Pearl River to Canton. Only the captain of the ship was allowed on land, and the trade was conducted in Hong buildings located close to the river. The Hong master was key to the trade in accepting goods for trade in Chinese desirables such as tea, silk and porcelain.

Under construction.

George Washington-Mount Vernon Collection

Thomas Jefferson-Monticello

Millard Fillmore-White House Collection (see page 34-Schiffer)

Jackie Kennedy

Rev. Peter J. Gomes


This section informs about and honors important Canton dealers who have died or are now retired. I have compiled information from obituaries, ads they placed and from personal knowledge.  If anyone would like to add to or correct these write-ups or suggest additional dealers, please do so.

British Museum, London England----A great London museum but their porcelain collection is not as extensive as the Victoria and Albert. We did not find any Canton there but we are picturing an orange Fitzhugh plate and a Nanking plate.