The contents of antique cabinets are generally a lot more valuable if they are available as a set; a fact Oriental porcelain collector Tony Evans discovered to his cost after he sold his Kangxi dynasty rice bowl for £235,000 – and then remembered it was one of a pair which, together, could have realised over £600,000 at auction.
The rare early 18th century Kangxi dynasty Pheasant bowl carried a pre-sale estimate of £8,000 – £12,000, the £195,000 hammer price reflecting its value to Chinese buyers keen to buy back their Imperial treasures. Unfortunately for the auctioneer – and Mr Evans – the second bowl was only remembered after the sale had been made.
Tony Evans inherited the bowls from his father, who brought them back from China in the 1920s. Tony later gave one of them to his son, who kept it in a cupboard for 30 years. Both men then completely forgot about the bowl, until the sale of the first jigged their memories.
The second Pheasant bowl is now being sold by the same auction house with an estimate of £150,000, although it will probably realise far more. There is good reason to speculate that if the first buyer is present, he will bid very highly indeed to have such a rare pair of Imperial artefacts in his collection. As it is, the bowls will net Mr Evans around £470,000. In a single sale, this could have risen to £650,000.
Antique dealers in Lancashire often have antique cabinets in pairs. They are the ideal way to display family heirlooms, and one antique cabinet is always more desirable when matched by a twin.
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