18th century Chinese parrots soar to £200k

"I feel like I've won the lottery without buying a ticket."

Such was the reaction of a man who had just seen his two slightly damaged, glazed pottery birds sell for £200,600 (including premium) at Plymouth Auction Rooms, UK.

Plymouth Auction Rooms Chinese pottery parrots
The Ornamental Parrots, worth £200k

His grandmother had always told him they were valuable, but not even she can have had this sort of figure in mind.

They'd been kept safe enough in the attic for 20 years before being put up for auction with an £800-£1,200 listing.

A few years ago he had asked for an insurance quote on the birds, but when the figure of £3,000 was suggested he decided against it.

First acquired by the family in the 1880s and never displayed, the multicoloured birds are now set to spread their wings and fly to the continent after a furious eight-way bidding war between experts in Chinese Art.

The sale is another reminder of the increasing power of Asian markets in collectibles.

Recent Art auctions have winessed bull market phenomena; high-end wine sales have enjoyed particular success, and recent stamp auctions have broken records.

"There is a very strong demand for rare Chinese art at the moment. It is more the scarcity which has helped this sale," said delighted auctioneer Paul Keen.

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