Could A Chinese Vase Bought For $1 Sell For $100,000?

Purchased in a charity shop in England for about $1, a Qianlong famille rose wall vase is now headed to auction this fall with an estimate between $60,000-100,000.

Yexue Li, expert at Sworders Fine Art, image © Bournemouth News
Yexue Li, expert at Sworders Fine Art, image © Bournemouth News

The lucky owner purchased this pear-shaped 19-cm vase for only one pound (about $1) at a second-hand shop in Hertfordshire, England earlier this year without any idea of its true value.

The imperial poem inscribed on the vase praises incense. Image © Bournemouth News
The imperial poem inscribed on the vase praises incense. Image © Bournemouth News

After putting the object on sale on eBay, and after receiving a flood of offers, the owner removed it from the site and went to a local auction house to have it valued, the Antique Trade Gazette reported. The vase, known as the Qianlong famille rose, has two ruyi handles, is engraved with an imperial poem, a yuti mark, and two iron-red inscriptions reading Qianlong chen han (the personal mark of the emperor), and Weijing weiyi (be precise, be undivided). 

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The Qianlong famille rose vase was owned by the Qianlong Emperor, who ruled from 1735-1796, as reported by the Sun. Image © Bournemouth News
The Qianlong famille rose vase was owned by the Qianlong Emperor, who ruled from 1735-1796, as reported by the Sun. Image © Bournemouth News

The vase is up for sale at Sworders on November 8, in their sale of Asian Art, with an estimate of £50,000 to £80,000 ($60,000-100,000). 

This isn’t the first time a valuable Chinese art object has landed on the auction scene in this manner: in 2016, the auction house Wooley & Wallis received an imperial Qianlong vase which was bought for £10 in a car boot sale. After the owner posted it on eBay and received bids of up to £10,000, he decided to instead consign it for sale in Salisbury, where it went for £50,000. 

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