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‘Worthless’ vase sells for £55,000 after years sitting on top of cabinet

The blue and white antique was sitting on top of a cabinet and its owner had no idea how much it was worth. When it went under the hammer, it sold for £55,595, with the buyer’s premium

The Chinese vase sold for over £55,000 after being spotted by a TV antiques expert

A Chinese vase that was dismissed as “worthless” because it had a crack in it has sold for over £55,000.

The blue and white antique was spotted by auctioneer Charles Hanson during a visit to the owner’s home after he was called there to value other objects.

It was sitting on top of a cabinet – but the 89-year-old woman did not even bother to ask about it because she was convinced it had no value.

However, she was stunned when Mr Hanson, a regular on the BBC shows Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip, said it was around 200 years old and could be worth up to £15,000.

When the vase went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers at Etwall, Derbyshire, on October 14, a fierce bidding battle broke out.



The vase was sold at auction
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Image:

Hansons / SWNS)




The final sale price came in at £55,595, with the buyer’s premium.

The vase’s owner, a retired speech therapist and mother-of-three from Cheshire, had owned it for 25 years.

Mr Hanson said: “I spotted it on top of her glass cabinet and immediately recognised its potential. Antique Chinese porcelain is highly sought after by wealthy Chinese buyers. They’re keen to repatriate items and honour the country’s rich ceramics heritage.

“The Chinese blue and white nine-dragon bottle vase bore a Jiaqing mark from the period 1796-1820 making it around 200 years old. It entered Hansons’ October Fine Art sale with a guide price of £10,000-£15,000 – and sparked a fierce bidding battle.

“The hammer finally went down at £40,000 and the object is returning to China. The total paid with buyer’s premium was £55,595. Not bad for an item deemed worthless.”



Charles Hanson spotted the vase on a cabinet
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Image:

Hansons / SWNS)




The price for the vase, which featured painted dragons chasing a flaming pearl among trailing clouds, was achieved despite a 5cm by 8cm reglued section on the rim and a 27cm crack.

The style of decoration had its roots in the imperial designs of the Qianlong period, from 1736 to 1795.

Similar examples exist in The Palace Museum, Beijing, China. The Jiaqing Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the fifth Qing emperor to rule over China from 1796 to 1820.

The owner said: “I remember seeing it at my grandparents’ house a long time ago but I don’t know how long they’d had it or how they came to own it.

“After they died my mother inherited it but I don’t remember where she displayed it – maybe it was just put in a cupboard. After my mother died in 1996, I took over ownership.







“When Charles Hanson visited me to value another item, I didn’t even bother to show him the vase but he noticed it immediately, recognised the base mark and assured me it was worth something.

“I was amazed, first of all at the suggested reserve and possible price mentioned, but the final amount was incredible. I plan to share the proceeds with my children.”

Mr Hanson added: “I am thrilled for our client. This valuable vase had been languishing on top of her glass cabinet for 25 years.

“Chinese finds like this can sell for significant, even life-changing, amounts. It’s always exciting to discover them.”


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