An antique jade horse, which is believed to date to the Ming dynasty, was recently sold at auction thanks to a chance meeting between a collector of Chinese art and a woman who was locked out of her car.
The woman who had left her keys inside her car was helped by a retired academic who happened to have a keen interest in Chinese art. The man had lived in China at the time of the Cultural Revolution and had been a regular visitor there during the last 40 years. During a discussion, the woman informed him that her husband was a collector of antiques. Further discussion revealed that among the collection was a rare Chinese horse made of jade.
An auctioneer from Duke’s auction house visited the couple to look at the collection. The expert, Andrew Marlborough, realised that the collection was exceptional and held some exciting pieces, including the jade horse. All the main items of the collection had been secured from reputable dealers in London, many of which still had the receipts. According to Marlborough, the horse was previously displayed at the Victoria and Albert museum in 1975, among a collection of similar pieces.
The horse was auctioned by Duke’s in Dorchester on 12th November, creating a stir among collectors before the sale took place. The rare antique finally sold for £52,000. Collectors often prefer to purchase antiques from a reputable dealer, whether the item is a one off rarity or a piece of furniture, like an antique coffee table or a French ormolu mounted vitrine.
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