> TELEPHONE US 212.355.5710

Another Little Chinese Vase

September 27, 2019

Wow, it happened again! Another Chinese vase made its way to auction with a low estimate and soared beyond the consignor’s dreams as wealthy Asian collectors battled it out.  A 15-inch tall blue, red and white ‘lotus’ vase from the Yongzheng period just came across the auction block at a small auction house in Hampshire, UK. With the pre-sale estimate of a mere £400-600, the auctioneer was astounded when a phone bidder opened with a bid of £500,000. The battle raged on as three Asian collectors fought it out, by phone, internet and with a representative in the room. In the end, the collector who started it all was persistent and won the battle when he/she placed the winning bid of £1.3 ($1.61M). When the commission fees were added in, the total price for the vase set a record for the auction house…£1.62M ($2.10M).

You may be wondering (like I was), how are all these amazing and extremely valuable pieces of Chinese porcelain showing up in little sales in the UK?  Well, it goes back to the mid-1800s. Basically, the United Kingdom and France fought with the Qing Dynasty over exporting opium, leading to the Second Opium War (1856-1860). The British and French troops destroyed the Emperor’s Summer Palace and it is believed that well over a million objects were taken and brought back to the UK … I would guess that most families today have no idea of the treasures that have been handed down.