Two rare antique vases discovered during a routine valuation have recently sold for millions at auction after their significance to 18th-Century China was revealed.
Jeremy Morgan, an antiques expert from Christie’s, was in the drawing room of a country home when he spotted the vases sitting on the mantelpiece. The expert immediately realised that they were special, telling the owner to take a seat before revealing the identity of the vases. Morgan explained that they were vases that had been made during the 18th century for the Qianlong Emperor, who was recognised as the greatest art collector in China.
Morgan placed an estimated value on the pair of vases of £2m. However, with so much interest being generated worldwide, the vases sold at auction for £14.75m to a phone bidder who remained anonymous.
The head of the Chinese Works of Art department at Christie’s, Pedram Rasti, stated that they were the only pair of vases of their type to have come to auction. The current owner inherited the vases, which were purchased during the 1930s.
The vases stand at nine inches high, and have an elaborate design, with butterflies and flowers of various types at the bottom of the vase, and further floral decoration at the top. The new owner may want to consider a secure location for the vases, but will benefit from displaying them in a drawing room where they can be admired, perhaps accompanying late Victorian furniture purchased from a high-end antiques dealer.
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