A small Chinese vase with a number of cracks in it realised a shock £40,000 ($53,464) in an auction this week.
It was originally valued at just £40 ($53) for the UK sale at Shoulers Auctioneers.
These stories are becoming increasingly common thanks to the internet, as in-the-know Chinese buyers are able to scour the catalogues of minor auction houses around the world.
The Yongzheng emperor was a passionate patron of the arts
Much of China’s cultural wealth, including many priceless vases, were taken from the country by westerners in the mid to late 1800s.
What we’re looking at here is actually an 18th century Yongzheng vase.
Yongzheng porcelain regularly achieves high prices at auction. The Yongzheng emperor’s reign was short (1723-1735) but he made his mark on China’s ceramics industry, personally overseeing the introduction of bold new styles.
What makes this result all the more incredible is that the piece measures just 3 inches.
As auctioneer Simon Shouler told the Daily Express newspaper: "I like Chinese blue and white porcelain but this was the most unremarkable piece on the tray.
"It was estimated at £30 to £40 but we could not believe it when the bidding went up to £40,000.
"It was fought out between two bidders in the room, with internet bidders going berserk in the background.
"One of the big auction houses did the same thing as us recently with a little Chinese vase which made £35,000 after being valued much lower.”
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