An old vase from my grandmother's closet was estimated at 7 million poundsPictolic
Everyone knows that old Chinese vases are very expensive things for which collectors are willing to pay millions. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how these vases look like. It is hard to imagine how many priceless works of art were broken by cats because of this, sold for pennies or thrown away when moving. An elderly resident of one of the villages of Central Europe was lucky – before deciding what to do with a porcelain vase that had been kept in the family for half a century, she consulted an expert.
The woman contacted an art consultant from the Netherlands, Johan Bosch van Rosenthal, and asked him to come and look at a very old Chinese vase. According to the old woman, she has been gathering dust on the closet for almost 60 years and it's time to figure out whether she is needed in the house at all.
It took only a couple of minutes for the expert to realize that he was looking at an original Chinese vase of the Qing Dynasty. Such art objects are unique and have their own history. This vase once belonged to the famous ceramic collector Harry Gardner and was one of the pearls of his collection.
The vase, decorated with a blue and white floral pattern, was made for the Qianlong Emperor, who ruled China from 1735 to 1796. It was kept in the Palace of Heavenly Purity, in the Forbidden City of Beijing, and only the emperor himself and some of his entourage could enjoy its perfection.
It is not known exactly how the vase got to Europe, but its auction history begins in 1954, when it was sold for 44 pounds sterling, and a few months later it was resold, but for 80 pounds. As we can see, even at auctions, they do not always know the true value of things.
Rosenthal was surprised that the fragile precious object had stood for so many years in a room where cats were constantly present. At the time when the expert examined the vase, four fluffy pets lived in the old woman's house. Since the Dutchman did not have enough experience to evaluate the vase, he turned to the chairman of the Sotheby's auction house in Asia, Nicholas Chow.
He was so intrigued by the find that he immediately flew to Europe to personally see the vase. After carefully examining the work, Chou said that its price is in the range of 9-11. 6 million dollars (approximately 628-809. 4 million rubles). It was not possible to find out how Gardner's Chinese vase ended up in Central Europe – the woman inherited the thing from her parents and could not tell her story. Until that moment, the vase was considered irretrievably lost for many years.
The expert of the auction house Sotheby's was not mistaken and the appearance of the Gardner vase at the auction was a bolt from the blue. Famous collectors from all over the world fought for the right to possess an ancient value and as a result, the lot was sold for 7 million pounds (about 566 million rubles). It's scary to even imagine that this vase could be swept to the floor by a cat any day and no one would know about its true value.
A similar story happened in Manchester, England. There, a couple of pensioners for 40 years kept a vase of the Jiaqing Emperor on the porch of their house as an umbrella stand. Fortunately, this story also has a happy ending.