Rare Chinese Bottle Vase Sells For Almost £1m
The eight-inch vase was inherited by an academic in Oxford who had no idea it was worth anything.A small Chinese vase that was valued at £10,000 to £15,000 has sold at auction - for almost £1m.
The extremely rare 18th-century ornament, made for a Chinese emperor, was brought to Britain by the seller's family more than a century ago.
Although it is only 20cm (8in) high, an anonymous telephone buyer in Hong Kong paid around 100 times its estimated value.
Tennants' auction rooms in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, said they were "very pleased" with the result.
Associate director Nigel Smith said the blue and white bottle vase, made for the Qianlong Emperor in around 1730, was put up for sale by an academic who lives in Oxford.
He said: "It really is a museum-quality piece and these things very rarely come on the market.
"It's come down through the family - one of their relatives was a diplomat in China in the 1880s and was given it as a gift."
He said the unnamed owner had contacted Tennants after learning that a similar item had sold for £2.6m last November.
Mr Smith said he was shocked at the £950,000 the tiny vase made at the Spring Fine Art Sale.
"Despite the low valuation, we expected it to fetch in excess of half a million, but we were very pleased with the result," he said.
He added: "I haven't spoken to the vendor but I expect he's rather happy, too."
The seller's grandmother, Lady Ethel Margaret Stronge, left the vase to his mother, Mrs Rose Ethel Richardson of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, who in turn gave it to her son.
Lady Ethel Margaret was married to Sir Francis Stronge who joined the diplomatic service in London in 1879 and went to Peking in the same year.
He went on to serve in the Supreme Court in Shanghai in 1885 before working in Central America from 1897 to 1907.
The vase had been kept in a house in North Yorkshire for 45 years and the owner had no idea it was valuable until he got in touch with Tennants.