A Chinese vase which had been priced by an auction house in Birmingham at just £1,800 ($2,200), ended up fetching £810,000 ($995,000) after bidders found out it was an authentic antique from the Ming dynasty.
Auctioneers Fellows reportedly mistook the item for a copy, hence the low valuation, The Telegraph reported. The auction house set the starting bid for the 500-year-old porcelain wucai fish vase at £1,000 ($1,200).
When attendees identified that the vase was actually made in the 1500s during the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Chinese Ming dynasty (1521 to 1567), bidders engaged in a fierce bidding war, raising its value through the roof.
Bidding parties from both inside and outside the salesroom participated in the bid, including telephone and online bids from competitors in Asia.
— Fellows (@FellowsAuctions) February 25, 2017
The highly-coveted vase was finally sold to a Chinese client over the phone for 450 times its guide price.
“Two buyers in the room battled each other strongly before, at around the £600,000 mark, the final telephone left standing sparked into life. There was a lot of interest through the online bidding platforms as well,” Fellows Senior specialist, Mark Huddleston was quoted as saying.
“Finally at £800,000 the final bidder in the room admitted defeat, and with the next bid the telephone bidder, via his translator, secured the lot – to a round of applause for the auctioneer and Managing Director, Stephen Whittaker.”
According to Huddleston, the initial low price was from the seller, while admitting that the auction house also failed to identify it immediately as authentic.
— Fellows (@FellowsAuctions) February 27, 2017
“We are delighted with the house-record sale of the Chinese wucai vase. This vase was consigned via a Chinese client,” Huddleston said. “Initial research when cataloguing had pointed to a number of historic precedents sold in the tens and hundreds of thousands.
“We examined the decoration to the collar and felt that it lacked sophistication of these early pieces. Whilst we dealt with a number of condition enquiries before the sale, little could have prepared us for the result.”