Ooops, it’s happened again: A rare 18th-century Chinese vase that was casually kept in a kitchen recently sold for $1.8 million at auction. Just a few months ago, a keen-eyed garage sale shopper found a 400-year-old Chinese vase worth nearly $20,000. First, these stories make us peer especially closely at the shelves of vases every time we go to a thrift store. It also makes us wonder how many more valuable vases are out there.

In this case, the English seller had inherited the 24-inch-high, blue and gilt vase from his father, a surgeon, who bought it in the 1980s for a few hundred pounds. The porcelain vase is from the Qianlong era (1736-1795). It was spotted by an expert who was visiting the homeowner. Bidding came from China, Hong Kong, the U.S. and the UK.

chinese vase 18th century qianlong era blue gold cranes and bats

Photo: Dreweatts




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