Vase sells for £300,000 - even though it's a copy

Auctioneers were left stunned when this Chinese vase valued at £1,200 was sold for a staggering £307,000 - despite possibly being a COPY. See SWNS story SWVASE; The Chinese Tibetan style temple vase is enamelled with scrolling flowers and the Eight Buddhist Treasures on a white ground. But while it looks like a vase from the Jiaqing period, 1796-1820, the 26.5cm high vase is believed to have been made in the early 20th century known as the Republic period. It was initially bought by a British solicitor when he was working in Shanghai around 100 years ago.

A Chinese vase has sold for over £300,000 at auction, despite being a twentieth-century copy.

Initially valued at £1,500, the Chinese Tibetan style enamelled temple vase depicts the eight Buddhist treasures on a white background, surrounded by scrolling flowers.

It looks like a vase from the Jiaqing period, between 1796 and 1820, and has a red seal on the base, indicating that this is the case. However, it's believed to have actually been made as a copy in the Republic Period of the early 20th century.

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The vase was bought in Shanghai soon after it was made, by a British solicitor who was working there. It stayed in the family since, sitting on a mantelpiece in Wiltshire, until the two brothers who owned it decided to sell.

Auctioneers Lawrences of Crewkerne gave the vase a guide price of £1,200 to £1,500. But after strong interest from buyers in the Far East, it finally sold for an astonishing £252,000, with premiums and VAT bringing the final figure up to £307,000.

"It has been on a mantelpiece for 30 years. We knew it would do well but we didn't know how well so we were pleasantly surprised. As was the vendor," Neil Grenyer, director of furniture and ceramics at Lawrences tells Somerset Live.

The market for Chinese ceramics has been booming, driven by wealthy Far Eastern buyers. Last year, Chinese art accounted for 30% of the world's auction sales.

As a result, many sellers have been pleasantly surprised by how much their neglected piece of pottery is actually worth.

In 2014, for example, a large, eighteenth-century pot that had been being used as a doorstop sold for £150,000; and this time last year, an old vase unearthed in a Devon attic sold to a buyer in Hong Kong for £488,000.

Late last year, a Chinese hat-stand that had been converted into a lamp made £540,000. And just weeks later, a tiny pot measuring just four inches tall sold for almost £1 million after huge interest from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.

Of course, most Chinese-style ceramics are worth little or nothing - but it's always worth getting things checked out. A local auction house is probably the best place to start.

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10 incredible auctions

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The world's most expensive stamp sold at auction in 2014 for over $9 million.

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There were two denominations: the four-cent, which is very rare, and the one-cent - of which only one has ever been discovered.

In May 2015, an anonymous London businesswoman snapped up the licence plate KR15 HNA for £233,000, making it the most expensive standard number plate ever to be sold in the UK.

Queen Victoria's bloomers sold at auction for £6,200, along with a pair of her silk stockings.

They have a 52-inch waist, and belonged to the monarch in the 1890s - "towards the end of her life when she had eaten a lot more than most people could afford to," said auctioneer Michael Hogben. In today's sizing, they'd be a size 26.

In 2014, a three-year-old slice of cake sold at auction for $7,500 (£4,800). The reason the stale cake was in such demand was that it was from the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.

The buyer said he intended to give it away as part of promoting his Silicon Valley start-up.

A British coin sold at auction for a record-breaking £430,000 in 2014. After fees, the buyer paid £516,000 - making it the most expensive modern British coin ever to be sold.

The coin is only one of two in existence. It was a 'proof' for a gold sovereign which was meant to be produced to commemorate the coronation of Edward VIII in 1937. However, Edward abdicated in 1936, so the coronation never happened and the coins were never made


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