The owner of a rare antique vase was shocked when the item sold at auction for double the estimated value.
The vase had belonged to a retired council employee, living in Cumbria, and was used as an ornament in the owner’s living room. The pensioner only discovered that the vase was valuable when she took it along to Bonhams to a valuation day. Although the owner had only intended taking some silver pieces from her home, she decided to take along the vase as an afterthought.
The antiques experts surprised her when they demonstrated more interest in the vase than the other pieces. They recognised it was valuable and informed the owner that it bore the seal of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong. The Emperor ruled from 1735 to 1796, and was also noted as being an antiques collector, artist and poet. The style of the vase reflects the fusion of Western and Chinese tastes, a popular design during the Emperor’s reign.
The vase had been handed down to the pensioner by her mother, although no one knows how it arrived in the UK. The vase wasn’t thought to be valuable and as such, it had been largely ignored and at the time of valuation had been left lying among furniture while the owner decorated. Although valued between £50,000 and £80,000, the antique vase sold for £110,500 – the auction house will of course then take its commission. The pensioner had kept the vase in a cupboard at her home. The new owner may want to consider an antique cabinet so that the beauty of the vase can be appreciated by others.
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