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  • Chinese Qianlong vase auctions for $1.4m in Yorkshire, UK
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • auctionsChineseQianlongvase

Chinese Qianlong vase auctions for $1.4m in Yorkshire, UK

An unassuming Qianlong Chinese vase sold at auction for £950,000 ($1.4m) on March 14, smashing its £15,000 top estimate with a 6,233% increase.

The rare ornament measures a mere 20 cm in height and is decorated with scrolling lotus blossoms as well as formal scrolls and arrowheads - important clues as to the piece's original owner.

Chinese vase million pound auction
The “million pound” vase was discovered by Rodney Tennant during a routine house visit

Made for a Qianlong emperor during the 18th century, the vase sold to an anonymous telephone bidder based in Hong Kong, at Tennants' auction rooms in Yorkshire, UK.

An extremely small number of equivalent pieces would have been produced, making this a very exclusive purchase indeed.

Nigel Smith, Tennants' associate director, comments: "It really is a museum quality piece.

"Despite the low valuation, we expected it to fetch in excess of half a million, but we were very pleased with the result. I haven't spoken to the vendor but I expect he's rather happy too."

The ornament was offered from the collection of Sir Francis Stronge, a Peking-based British diplomat during the late 19th century, who went on to work in Shanghai's supreme court. The vase had been handed down through the family to his grandson, the seller, who is said to have had no idea of the item's value.

International buyers are increasingly looking to the east for investment, as the market for Chinese ceramics, particularly among Chinese buyers, remains strong.

As with any collecting area, however, it is also awash with fakes offered by sellers keen to make a dishonest profit. See our guide on how to identify fake Chinese ceramics for more information.

Asia Week is getting underway today in New York. We will be bringing you all the big sales. 

  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • auctionsChineseQianlongvase