A sale held recently at Sheppard’s Auctioneers in Co Laois indicated that Chinese antiques are still experiencing huge demand from collectors. One Chinese vase had a pre-sale estimate between €2,200 and €3,300 (£1,800 – £2,700) eventually sold for a staggering €170,000 (£139,000).
The blue and white vase, which was made during Emperor Qianlong’s reign, had previously belonged to an Irish collector and was sold to an overseas online bidder. The Chinese vase is decorated with a phoenix, which symbolises rebirth and good fortune in the culture of the Chinese. The vase wasn’t the only item to exceed expectations, as a bronze urn from the Qing period sold for €90,000 (£74,000) after being given a pre-sale estimate of €20,000 to €30,000 (£16,000 – £25,000).
The saleroom at Sheppard’s had been visited by a Chinese delegation to hold a private viewing of more than 1,800 lots before the auction took place, and the urn had been the centre of attention. The strong results of the auction, with 83 per cent of the lots sold, indicate that Chinese collectors are still eager to purchase antiques which were bought by wealthy Irish people during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Many of the bids were submitted online, as the auction was shown live on the web. Whichever method is used to bid at auction, the successful bid will attract a buyer’s premium, which is set a a percentage of the price. The new owner of the Chinese vase may want to consider an antique cabinet for display purposes.
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