Worthless vase sells for £55k after sitting on owners shelf for last 25 years

A forgotten vase which was sitting on top of a woman’s cabinet in Cheshire has fetched £55,000 at an auction after turning out to be a two-centuries-old antique.

The 89-year-old owner who wished to remain anonymous had owned the vase for 25 years after her mother passed away in 1996.

The mum-of-three even had it valued one time, only to be told by a so-called expert that it was not worth anything due to the large crack along the rim.

But when TV antiques expert Charles Hanson was called to her home to value other objects, he noticed the vase sitting on top of her cabinet.

It turned out to be a Qing dynasty Jiaqing era relic from between 1796-1820 and was estimated to be worth around £10,000-£15,000.

The historic item went under the hammer at Hanson Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire, on October 14 with a price of £40,000.

The total paid by a Chinese bidder with buyer's premium was £55,595.

The seller, a retired speech therapist, 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 my mother died in 1996, I took over ownership. My brother didn't want it because of the repaired crack. I have no idea how this damage occurred but the repair itself looked old.

"I didn't think the vase was worth much but liked the carved wooden stand that went with it and kept it on top of my glass cabinet.

"A few years ago, I took it to a U3A session where a so-called Asian specialist was looking at anything we produced.

"She said it was worthless because of the repair and did not recognise the mark on its base. She said she would look it up and let me know but I heard nothing from her.

"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.

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"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."

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

The style of decoration had its roots in the imperial designs of the Qianlong period (1736-1795), with similar examples existing in The Palace Museum in Beijing, China.

Hanson, a familiar face on Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip, 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.

"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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