FOUND - Vase Pair Fetches $19 Million

Hidden in Plain Sight... Owner had No Idea they were Valuable

Video
The pair of 18th century vases discovered during routine home valuation.

May 25, 2017
By James Massey, What Sells Best News

LONDON (VIDEO) – A rare pair of 18th century vases, found during a routine valuation, have fetched $19 million (£14 million) at Christie's. Prior to their discovery, the owner had no idea of their rarity or value.

The extremely rare pair of 9-inch-tall Chinese vases, are described as 'Butterfly' double-gourd vases with a Qianlong six-character seal under-glazed in blue. The vases are dated between 1736 and 1795.

Discovery was "Eureka Moment"

The moment of discovery is recalled in a video with Rosemary Scott, a Chinese ceramics specialist for Christie's. "It was one of those wonderful eureka moments, My colleague Jeremy Morgan was on a perfectly normal valuation visit when he walked into the drawing room and there, on the mantelpiece, he saw these vases. He couldn’t believe his eyes."

Chinese Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight

Our research indicates a number of extremely valuable Chinese ceramics have been found in unusual places and circumstances. Often hidden in plain sight.

Here's a few notable examples (note: quoted prices may vary due to currency exchange rates at time of the sale, and buyer premiums which may, or may not, be reflected in prices):

What Should You Look For?

There are a number of highly rated books on Amazon.com, or at your average library. They can help you learn more about the distinctive marks and styles to look for. You might also check out the videos posted below.

Have old Chinese ceramics laying around? Try using the free resources available here for getting free online appraisals from top auction houses. Or try contacting the auctioneers listed above for a free online valuation.

Auction Information

The pair of vases featured in this story were sold in London by Christie's on May 9, 2017. At the time of this publication, they were still listed on the Christie's website as lot number 99.

Today's Most-Watched Antique Chinese Vases on eBay

The following list the Most-Watched Antique 'Chinese Vases' on eBay. Also see the Top 25: Asian Antiques to see which items are fetching the highest bids, worldwide, right now.


CHINESE BLUE WHITE KANGXI STYLE PORCELAIN VASE W MARK

Watchers: 121
Bid Price: $383.00
Time Left:
5d 9h 23m


CHINESE BLUE DRAGON PORCELAIN KANGXI PERIOD ALTAR BOWL WITH SILVER MOUNTS 18thC

Watchers: 119
Bid Price: $587.18
Time Left:
41m 30s


V-LARGE Antique Chinese Porcelain Blue and White Prunes Punch Bowl KANGXI 18th C

Watchers: 111
Bid Price: $52.05
Time Left:
2d 23h 34m


A Rare and Important Chinese Qianlong Monochrome Vase, Mark and of Period.

Watchers: 106
Buy It Now: $24500.00
Time Left:
9d 22h 25m


Chinese Porcelain Famille Verte Wucai Sea Horse Bowl Blue KANGXI Mark

Watchers: 101
Bid Price: $148.75
Time Left:
3d 13m


Antique Chinese 18th/19th Century Qianlong Mark Blue & White Bat Vase SUPERB

Watchers: 78
Bid Price: $140.92
Time Left:
4d 5h 28m


CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN MEIPING VASE WITH DRAGONS

Watchers: 74
Bid Price: $38.00
Time Left:
5d 10h 31m


Pair of chinese blue & white porcelain double gourd vases Kangxi marks Late Qing

Watchers: 73
Bid Price: $151.36
Time Left:
1d 19h 50m


ANTIQUE CHINESE JADE CARVING OF TWO FISH IN STAND

Watchers: 72
Bid Price: $157.50
Time Left:
5d 10h 53m


CHINESE BLANC DE CHINE PORCELAIN FIGURE OF SEATED FIGURE WITH MARK

Watchers: 68
Bid Price: $169.50
Time Left:
5d 9h 47m


CHINESE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN VASE WITH QIANLONG MARK

Watchers: 68
Bid Price: $51.00
Time Left:
5d 9h 34m


Chinese Antique Famille Rose Vase Emperor Court Scenes Superbly Painted QING AF

Watchers: 67
Bid Price: $118.58
Time Left:
3d 22h 33m


Exquisite Large Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Plate Late Qing ~ Republic 17"

Watchers: 64
Buy It Now: $3500.00
Time Left:
2d 11h 20m


CHINESE JADE CARVING OF BITRON BUDDHAS HAND

Watchers: 64
Bid Price: $76.00
Time Left:
5d 11h 2m


Antique Chinese Qing Dynasty Blue White Porcelain Moon Flask Vase Qianlong mark

Watchers: 60
Buy It Now: $16908.88
Time Left:
1d 11h 46m


LARGE FLAMBE GLAZED CHINESE PORCELAIN VASE WITH ANIMAL HANDLES AND MARK

Watchers: 56
Bid Price: $29.00
Time Left:
5d 10h 6m


UNUSUAL OLD CHINESE CARNELIAN AGATE AND CLOISONNE DESK SET INK WELL

Watchers: 53
Bid Price: $38.00
Time Left:
5d 10h 58m


LARGE CHINESE BLUE WHITE AND RED BEAKER VASE WITH DRAGONS

Watchers: 51
Bid Price: $83.00
Time Left:
5d 10h 28m


antique old natural red coral necklace 9K gold clasp, other turquoise Jade sale

Watchers: 50
Bid Price: $39.00
Time Left:
3d 2h 9m


3 PIECE LOT - CHINESE CLOISONNE YIXING TEAPOT AND PORCELAIN TILE PLAQUE

Watchers: 50
Bid Price: $103.50
Time Left:
5d 11h 1m


A Monumental Chinese Qing Dynasty Famille Rose Porcelain Figure Vase.

Watchers: 49
Buy It Now: $12500.00
Time Left:
2d 5h 47m


A Pair Important Chinese Qing Dynasty Iron Red Porcelain Gu Vases, Qianlong.

Watchers: 48
Buy It Now: $42500.00
Time Left:
24d 10h 20m


OLD CHINESE CARVED JADE JADEITE COVERED BOX WITH OPENWORK

Watchers: 48
Bid Price: $40.00
Time Left:
5d 10h 57m


CHINESE MEIPING FORM PORCELAIN VASE WITH FLAMBE GLAZE

Watchers: 47
Bid Price: $25.49
Time Left:
5d 10h 38m


chinese porcelain blue white jar vase marked signed qing dynasty

Watchers: 47
Buy It Now: $66999.00
Time Left:
17d 44m


3 PC LOT OF CHINESE PORCELAINS BRUSH WASHER VASE AND BRUSH POT

Watchers: 47
Bid Price: $162.50
Time Left:
5d 9h 46m


3 PIECE LOT OF OLD CHINESE PORCELAIN VASE JAR HAT STAND ETC

Watchers: 47
Bid Price: $20.50
Time Left:
5d 10h 46m


Rare Antique Chinese Hand-painted Blue/White/Gilt Canton Famille Rose Vase

Watchers: 47
Bid Price: $108.30
Time Left:
2d 23h 46m


PAIR OF VERY BEAUTIFUL OLD CHINESE VASES - CHARACTER MARKS ON THE BASE - RARE

Watchers: 46
Bid Price: $44.36
Time Left:
9h 39m


CHINESE PORCELAIN YELLOW GROUND PEACH VASES

Watchers: 45
Bid Price: $66.00
Time Left:
5d 9h 22m


A Pair Rare and Important Chinese Ming Dynasty Wan Li Mei Ping Vases.

Watchers: 45
Buy It Now: $47500.00
Time Left:
4d 10h 42m


ANTIQUE CHINESE CELADON GLAZED JAR VASE WITH HANDLES

Watchers: 44
Bid Price: $11.50
Time Left:
5d 10h 7m


16th Century Chinese Longquan Celadon Glaze Incised Porcelain Vase

Watchers: 44
Buy It Now: $2000.00
Time Left:
13h 4m


PAIR OF CHINESE CORAL GROUND PORCELAIN DISHES W KANGXI MARKS

Watchers: 44
Bid Price: $26.00
Time Left:
5d 10h 52m


Antique Blue and white porcelain jar pagoda in ancient China

Watchers: 43
Buy It Now: $16.98
Time Left:
8d 10h 5m


archaize Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Vase Home DecorateVase qianlong marked

Watchers: 41
Buy It Now: $14.39
Time Left:
21d 12h 34m


A pair China Old of blue and white porcelain vase double happiness

Watchers: 41
Buy It Now: $69.99
Time Left:
24d 13h 59m


19th/20th C. Chinese Famille-Rose Porcelain Big Vase

Watchers: 39
Bid Price: $66.00
Time Left:
4d 16m


OLD ANTIQUE CHINESE FAMILLE ROSE SCHOLAR VASE QIANLONG - REPUBLIC VERY FINE WORK

Watchers: 39
Bid Price: $97.00
Time Left:
3d 12h 18m


Chinese Antique Small Bronze Vase /Joss Stick Censer -17th / 18th century MING ?

Watchers: 39
Bid Price: $71.77
Time Left:
3d 22h 46m


Vintage / Antique Chinese Cinnabar and Blue Enamel Vase on Carved Wooden Stand

Watchers: 39
Bid Price: $21.07
Time Left:
3d 5h 35m


17th 18th Century Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Bottle Vase

Watchers: 39
Buy It Now: $1631.06
Time Left:
29d 7m


TWO PIECE LOT OF CHINESE GLAZED PORCELAIN

Watchers: 37
Bid Price: $3.25
Time Left:
5d 9h 42m


FINE LARGE Antique Chinese Famille Rose Noire Black Porcelain Vase Punch Bowl

Watchers: 37
Bid Price: $41.76
Time Left:
2d 23h 22m


LARGE CHINESE PORCELAIN VASE WITH SCENE OF MONKEYS AND WRITING

Watchers: 37
Bid Price: $415.00
Time Left:
5d 10h 26m


OXBLOOD GLAZED CHINESE PORCELAIN VASE WITH MARK

Watchers: 37
Bid Price: $15.50
Time Left:
5d 10h 40m


18th C. Chinese Famille-Rose Floral Porcelain Vase

Watchers: 36
Bid Price: $23.50
Time Left:
4d 20m


Very Fine Large Chinese Republic Period Famille Rose Plate Depicting Peaches Bat

Watchers: 36
Buy It Now: $750.00
Time Left:
9d 11h 45m


Very Fine Large Early 1900 Chinese Green Peking Glass Vase Phoenix Butterfly 12"

Watchers: 35
Buy It Now: $550.00
Time Left:
29d 13h 20m


GOOD CHINESE PORCELAIN MARKED VASE WITH FAMILLE JAUNE BODY 19thC

Watchers: 35
Bid Price: $189.20
Time Left:
1h 2m