Netsuke is effectively a toggle to hold an inro in place i.e. closed, and inro is a multi sectioned case for either money, snuff or tobacco.
So a good antique netsuke should have wear and patina from regular use, there are so many copies this is the best way to check age of an item.
Don't be afraid even to have a good sniff, obviously the wear will be on the highlights and high areas of the carving, again the more commercial are valuable ones will have more detail say a mouse rat or animal rather than say a nut or carved man, skulls are not too bad, but who doesn't love a mouse and monkey.
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