Inherited Chinese vase nabs $84M at auction
A host of Chinese bidders vaulted the price for the porcelain vase by leaps and bounds over a conservative pre-sale estimate of £1.2 million (about $2 million Cdn) set by British auction house Bainbridges, which hosted the sale on Thursday.
The final price of £51.6 million ($84 million Cdn, including auction house fees) — paid by a Chinese bidder representing an undisclosed buyer — is believed to be a record for a Chinese work of art sold at auction.
It surpassed last month's sale by Sotheby's of a Qing Dynasty vase in Hong Kong for the equivalent of nearly $33 million as well as Song Dynasty scroll that sold for about $66 million in Beijing in June.
It was found by a man and woman in Pinner, a northwest suburb of London, while they were clearing out the home they had inherited from a relative.
The auctioneer's experts, who conducted comparative research at the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, believe the vase was acquired by an English family during the 1930s, but it remains a mystery how the piece ended up in what the auction house described as "an ordinary home."
Bainbridges, based in the west London suburb of Ruislip, specializes in probate work, helping families value and sell items left when someone dies.
"The Chinese contingent had been in very smart sale rooms all week, and I think found it rather curious to come out here and mix amongst buyers who were selling fridges and cookers … and the like," co-founder Peter Bainbridge told the BBC.
With files from The Associated Press