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.
Devon man sells old vase from the attic for £488,000
'Old lamp' turns out to be worth more than half a million pounds
Tiny Chinese pot sells for almost £1 million
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.
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.