A vase kept in a family's kitchen sells for £1.5 million

20 May 2022, 10:02

The vase sold for half a million at an auction
The vase sold for half a million at an auction. Picture: Dreweatts
Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

A family were shocked to discover that they were in possession of an "extremely rare" 18th Century Chinese vase.

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If you're doing a spring clean this weekend, it might be worth keeping an eye out for potential historical artefacts that could be lurking in your home...

One family who paid a few hundred pounds for a blue vase in the 1980s were staggered to find that it was worth £1.5million.

The 'exceptionally rare' vase is from 18th Century China, and bears the "distinctive" six-character mark of the Qianlong period (1736-1795) on its base.

It's 2ft long, and was created for the court of the Qianlong Emperor.

The vase was bought for a few hundred pounds in the 1980s
The vase was bought for a few hundred pounds in the 1980s. Picture: Dreweatts

The vase was owned by a surgeon, whose son learnt its true value after it was passed down to him. It was estimated to sell at auction for around £100,000 - £150,000.

Berkshire-based Dreweatts Auctioneers said that they realised its true value when visiting an antiques specialist. It was then sold to an international buyer on the telephone for £1,449,000.

Mark Newstead from the auction house said: "We are delighted with this exceptional result. We saw widespread interest from China, Hong Kong, America and the UK which resulted in very competitive bidding.

The vase sold for a whopping £1.5m
The vase sold for a whopping £1.5m. Picture: Dreweatts

"The rich cobalt blue is often referred to as 'sacrificial blue', deriving from the use of vessels in this colour glaze being used during sacrifices at the Imperial Altar of Heaven.

"It is extremely rare to see blue vases painted in both gilding and slightly raised silver, thought to be due to the medium being difficult to control.

"Thrillingly, no other porcelain decorated with the same subject in gold and silver appears to have ever been documented."