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Valued at $2,000, sold for $7.5 million: Mysterious bidding war over ‘ordinary’ Chinese vase

An “ordinary” Chinese vase, valued at less than $2,000 by experts, has just fetched $7.5 million in an auction.

October 04, 2022 / 02:04 PM IST
A Chinese vase was auctioned for 4,000 times its estimated value (Image credit: Osenat)

A Chinese vase was auctioned for 4,000 times its estimated value (Image credit: Osenat)

An “ordinary” Chinese vase, valued at less than $2,000 by experts, has just fetched $7.5 million in an auction. According to The Guardian, a bidding frenzy among buyers “convinced it was a rare 18th-century artefact” propelled the price of the vase to nearly 4,000 times its original estimate.

The tianqiuping-style vase, featuring a blue and white design of dragons and clouds, was put up for auction by a woman who had never even seen the object. The Chinese vase was left to the woman by her mother, who in turn had inherited it from her mother, who was a Parisian collector.

The unnamed woman arranged for the porcelain-and-enamel vase to be sold by France-based Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau.

According to Artnet, the auction house deemed the vase to be a “quite ordinary” piece, dating to the 20th century. Experts said that had the vase been 200 years older, its value would have been significantly more. As things stood, however, the auction house estimated its value to be around $2,000.

However, it appears as though a large number of buyers thought that Osenat had misjudged the true value of the vase.

More than 30 buyers competed in a bidding war to own the Chinese vase. It was ultimately bought by an anonymous Chinese buyer for 7.7 million euros (over $7.5 million).

Taking the seller’s fee into account, the final price came to a staggering 9.12 million euros.

Jean-Pierre Osenat of the auction house called it a “crazy story,” while Cédric Laborde, a director at Osenat, said: “From the moment the catalogue was published we saw there was enormous interest with more and more Chinese people coming to see the vase. Our expert still thinks it’s not old.

“The Chinese are passionate about their history and proud to take possession of their history.”
first published: Oct 4, 2022 02:03 pm