The owner of a bronze statue from China has been left surprised, as the item sold for a sum 25 times greater than its estimated value.
The figure was sold at the London branch of Bonhams auctioneers, in a Fine Chinese Art auction. The gilt bronze item, standing nine inches high, was placed up for auction by an Irish vendor, who has remained unnamed.
The figure depicts the god of war, Guandi, from imperial mythology in China. The figure is sat on a throne, which is adorned by dragons. The item is believed to date back to the 17th or 18th Century, and was estimated to be worth around £12,000 to £15,000.
The head of Bonhams Ireland, which is located in Dublin, said that the vendor was unaware of the item’s value and was extremely surprised at the final sale price. Jane Beattie added that the price was an indication of just how strong the current market was for unusual Chinese pieces, especially bronze items. However, the value of Chinese antiques is notoriously difficult to predict, as recently discovered by vendors around the country. Experts from Bonhams will be returning to Ireland in December, to provide valuations, free of charge, for porcelain, oriental art, ceramics and bronzes.
The bronze figure eventually sold at the auction for £371,000. However, items at auction also attract a buyer’s premium, which is payable in addition to the auction price. A collector who buys an antique, like an antique coffee table, in a reputable antique store will not have to pay the premium.
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