Vase taken as payment for south London demolition job 40 years ago sells for £550,000 after it turns out to be 18th century artwork looted from China during the Boxer Rebellion
- Antique rose vase was given as payment to owner of demolition company in 80s
- The 12ins tall piece was then passed on to owner’s son who kept it stored away
- The 70-year-old is now celebrating after it sold for 36 times the expected £15k
- Hannam’s Auctioneers, of Hants had seven phone bidders competing for vase
This Qing famille rose vase was expected to sell for £15,000 but actually sold for £550,000 as it was revealed it’s an 18th century piece of Chinese artwork
A Chinese vase a demolition worker received as payment for a job nearly 40 years ago has now sold for a whopping £550,000.
The Qing famille rose vase had been given to the owner’s late father, who ran a demolition company in south London in the 1980s.
He kept it in his two-bed, semi-detached house until he passed away.
The 12ins tall piece was inherited by his son who kept it stored away for the past 15 years.
The 70-year-old is celebrating today after it sold at auction for 36 times the £15,000 it had been expected to be knocked down for.
The vendor was said to be very emotional upon being told the result and also relieved that he won’t have any financial worries through his retirement.
The twin-handled falancai ruby glazed vase has the mark of the Qianlong Emperor on it, which would date it to between 1735 to 1796.
Hannam’s Auctioneers, of Selborne, Hants, said it was probably of that period and was possibly looted from the Imperial Palace in China during the Boxer rebellion in 1899-1901.
The vase was in good condition with some minor flaking to the enamelling.
The 12ins tall piece was inherited by the son of a demolition worker who kept it stored away for the past 15 years but then put it up for auction. Pictured: Hannam’s auctioneer with the vase
The Boxer Rebellion was an uprising against foreigners that occurred in 1900, begun by peasants but eventually supported by the government.
It took place during the reign of the Qing dynasty – the last imperial dynasty to rule in China.
A Chinese secret society known as the Boxers embarked on a violent campaign to drive all foreigners from China.
The Boxers targeted foreigners first and foremost, Western missionaries in particular.
It also targeted Chinese converts to Christianity, who drew ire for flouting traditional Chinese ceremonies and family relations.
Several countries sent troops to halt the attacks.
The troops captured Beijing in August 1900, and, after extensive discussions, the rebellion officially ended when the Boxer Protocol was signed on September 7, 1901 ending hostilities.
The auction had seven phone bidders competing for the vase, which set a new house record of a hammer price of £520,000. With fees added on, the anonymous Chinese buyer paid £550,000 for it.
Harry Hannam, from the auction house, said: ‘The vase was given in lieu of a bad debt to the vendor’s father who ran a demolition company in the 1980s.
‘He took this vase along with a two-inch jade Buddha as payment, presumably to a client who couldn’t pay their bill.
‘The family were from a very moderate upbringing and were working class. They had a two-bed semi-detached home near Bromley.
‘The man’s wife inherited them upon his death and when she died in the early 2000s they went to their son.
‘Since his mother died I believe the vase has been stored away and has not been on display anywhere.
‘We sold the Buddha for the family when we first formed the company six or seven years ago for £5,500.
‘He’s going to be clearing the whole house soon and relocating to the south coast so decided to consign the vase for sale.
‘He had absolutely no idea of its worth when it was initially consigned. The estimate was a great surprise to him and after I told him the selling price he was very emotional.
‘What’s lovely is that he will never have to worry again during his retirement.
‘The vase is in generally good condition with minor flaking to the enamelling.
Vase was given to the owner’s late father in south London in the 1980s. Pictured: the vase had come from the Imperial Palace in China and was possibly looted during the Boxer rebellion
‘Almost certainly the vase had come from the Imperial Palace in China and was possibly looted during the Boxer rebellion.
‘In a market full of counterfeits, the vase was deemed by many to be 18th century and made for the Emperor some time between 1736 and 1795.
‘Buyers of Chinese works of art are always keen to buy back important and historical pieces from their past and this vase represents a significant part of it.’
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