Chinese plate which was gathering dust on a shelf and thought to be only worth £3,000 turns out to be 14th century master-crafted lacquer charger and sells for £210,000
- Anonymous British owner inherited the charger which is 12 inches in diameter
- Took it to a provincial auction house ‘on a whim’ where it was valued at £3,000
- Actually made by master craftsman during the Yuan Dynasty in the 14th century
- The winning bidder paid £210,540 for the rare piece at Kinghams Auctioneers
A British antique collector is celebrating after an old Chinese plate that was gathering dust on their shelf and thought to be worth £3,000 sold for more than £210,000.
The anonymous owner inherited the lacquer circular charger, measuring 12 inches in diameter, and thought it was either Chinese or Japanese but had no idea of its worth.
They took it to a provincial auction house ‘on a whim’ where experts thought it dated back to the Ming Dynasty of imperial China.
The charger was given a pre-sale estimate of £3,000 but Kinghams Auctioneers of Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, were soon inundated with enquiries from bidders in Asia.
A British antique collector is celebrating after an old Chinese plate, pictured, which was said to be worth £3,000, sold for more than £210,000 at auction
It turned out the deep red charger was made by a master craftsman during the Yuan Dynasty in the 14th century. Carved lacquer was a highly-skilled, time-consuming craft.
Using a wooden base, lacquer was built up in many layers of resin and tree sap to form an extremely hard wearing natural ‘plastic’ which was then carved.
The skilled carving was at its peak during the Yuan Dynasty.
The owner inherited the lacquer circular charger, measuring 12 inches in diameter, and thought it was either Chinese or Japanese but had no idea of its worth. The deep red charger was made by a master craftsman during the Yuan Dynasty in the 14th century
The charger that was sold at Kinghams is comparable to similar examples in prominent museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Frenzied bidding battle resulted in the item selling for a hammer price of £165,000. With fees added on, the winning bidder paid £210,540 for it.
Adrian Rathbone, an associate director at Kinghams, said: ‘The vendor brought it to us on a whim.
‘They had inherited it about 20 or 30 years ago and it had just been sitting on a shelf gathering dust.
The charger is comparable to similar examples in prominent museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The winning bidder paid £210,540 for it
‘I guess they were just looking at it one day and wondered what it might be worth.’
Mr Rathbone added: ‘We carried out research on it and concluded it was something special and thought it was from the Ming period but it turned out to be even older than that.
‘Bidding just took off. The vendor is over the moon and it is a really good result. It is a tidy sum and an early Christmas present for them.’
The sale represented a record for a single lot sold by Kinghams, beating the previous best of £140,000 for a piece of lalique.
Other items which sold for more than the owner expected
A Chinese vase damaged from being used as a walking stick stand in an outdoor porch for more than 40 years sold for £110,000 in 2018.
The elderly owner, from Altrincham in Greater Manchester, inherited the vase decades ago and it was originally valued by experts at £200.
It turned out to have been made for a Chinese emperor in the early 19th century to display at one of his imperial palaces.
A damaged Chinese vase valued by experts at £200 sold for £110,000 in 2018
Another Chinese vase valued at £10,000 to £15,000 sold at auction for almost £1 million in 2013.
The extremely rare blue and white bottle vase was made for the Qianlong Emperor in 1730. It was brought to Britain by the seller’s family more than a century ago.
It went to an unnamed bidder from China at Tennants’ auction rooms in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
Another Chinese vase that was valued at £10,000 to £15,000 sold at auction for almost £1 million in 2013
An almost 300-year-old Chinese tea bowl that was bought by a Briton for £20 was sold for £40,000 at auction in 2019.
It had been given a sale estimate of £8,000 by Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers.
The bowl was purchased by a Hong Kong collector for £31,000 as a part of Sworders’ Asian art auction, with extra fees taking the figure paid to £40,000.
An almost 300-year-old Chinese tea bowl that was bought for £20 sold for £40,000 at auction in 2019