A Chinese sleeper was recently sold at auction, shocking the experts as it sold for a record-breaking amount.
The auction was held recently at Fellows of Birmingham, and the Chinese porcelain vase was included in the Antiques, Silver & Collectables auction. The vase was mistakenly believed to originate from the 20th Century, and was given an estimate of £1,200 to £1,800. However, the vase is actually a wucai fish jar, typically produced during the Jiajing reign in the 16th Century. The emperor was a patron of Daoism, and fish have always symbolised free thinking spirits, playing an integral role in Daoist imagery.
The auctioneers had to determine whether the vase was originally produced during the 16th or 20th Century. The experts decided that, despite demonstrating some signs of age, the vase was from the later 20th Century. At the auction, the vase attracted far more attention than the auctioneers had predicted, with one bidder flying from Japan to compete for it. However, as the bids reached £500,000, the bidding was narrowed down to three bidders, with one of them on the phone. The bidding had opened at £1,000 as planned, but offers rapidly spiralled into six figures. The piece eventually sold for £810,000, plus the buyer’s premium.
Although antiques auctions can produce some surprises, successful bidders have to pay around 20% extra as a buyer’s premium. Dealers have a wide range of antiques, including antique coffee tables. These may be the ideal resting place for the vase, and no buyer’s premium is added.
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