A vase dating back to 18th century China, believed to have been owned and passed down from one generation to another by a French family, was auctioned and sold for 16.2 million euros ($19 million).
The exceptionally rare and well-preserved vase was hidden inside a shoe box and wrapped with some newspaper in the attic of a French family. It was later brought to Sotheby’s Paris, France, branch to put up for auction, according to Shanghaiist.
The vase was created for the Qianlong Emperor who ruled China from 1735 to 1796 at the imperial workshops of Jingdezhen in southeast China’s Jiangxi Province.
Prior to the auction, experts reportedly put the guide price of the item at 500,000 euros ($590,559).
However, during the very intense 20-minute bid war, its price went up to more than 30 times and was sold for $19 million to an unnamed person who is believed to be of Asian descent.
According to the current members of the family, the vase was given to their great-grandparents by a man, but it was unclear how he managed to get the vase in the first place.
History suggests that many treasures from ancient China in the Old Summer Palace in Beijing were ransacked by French and British forces in 1860 when the latter attacked the country as a form of revenge, BBC reported.
The French family knew that the vase was valuable, but they didn’t know exactly how valuable, and its significance in Chinese history. They were reportedly not too fond of how it was designed.
“We didn’t like the vase too much, and my grandparents didn’t like it either,” the owner said.
Images via ECNS