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.


Antique Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Coral HUNDRED BUTTERFLIES Vase GUANGXU

Watchers: 139
Bid Price: $87.40
Time Left:
4d 18h 32m


SUPERB! V-LARGE Antique Chinese Porcelain Famille Verte Wucai Vase KANGXI 19th C

Watchers: 138
Bid Price: $170.82
Time Left:
4d 19h 19m


V-FINE! LARGE Antique Chinese Porcelain Blue and White Copper Red Vase c1850

Watchers: 138
Bid Price: $104.61
Time Left:
4d 17h 41m


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

Watchers: 104
Buy It Now: $68.99
Time Left:
2d 17h 45m


Vintage Asian Antique Chinese Vase With Unique Mark On Bottom!

Watchers: 100
Buy It Now: $189.95
Time Left:
1d 1h 32m


Antique Blue and white porcelain jar pagoda in ancient China

Watchers: 96
Buy It Now: $16.98
Time Left:
10d 4h 29m


FINE LARGE Chinese Porcelain Celadon LONGQUAN Incised Incense Burner Censer MING

Watchers: 87
Bid Price: $259.54
Time Left:
4d 19h 2m


PAIR ANTIQUE CHINESE SPILL VASE CHRISTIES ESPIRITO SANTO COLLECTION PROVENANCE

Watchers: 85
Bid Price: $67.53
Time Left:
4d 22h 13m


HUGE! Chinese Porcelain Blue and White Figure Dragon Moon Flask Vase KANGXI MK

Watchers: 80
Bid Price: $266.16
Time Left:
4d 18h 55m


FINE! Pair Antique 19 C Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Mandarin Gilt Dragon Vase

Watchers: 78
Bid Price: $11.26
Time Left:
4d 18h 30m


VFINE! PAIR V-LARGE Antique Chinese Canton Porcelain Famille Rose Mandarin Vase

Watchers: 77
Bid Price: $529.68
Time Left:
4d 19h 15m


CHINESE PORCELAIN CELADON CONG VASE IN ARCHAIC FORM 6 CHARACTER MARK 19thC

Watchers: 76
Bid Price: $82.10
Time Left:
17h 44m


Fine China Hand Painted flower Blue and White Porcelain vase & Jar

Watchers: 72
Buy It Now: $24.22
Time Left:
1d 6h 23m


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

Watchers: 71
Buy It Now: $2450.00
Time Left:
4d 5h 43m


rare 19th c chinese famille rose porcelain moon flask vase daogung mk & period

Watchers: 70
Bid Price: $589.27
Time Left:
20h 34m


Antique Chinese Porcelain Kangxi Blue and White Ginger Jar Vase and Lid 18th C

Watchers: 67
Bid Price: $21.92
Time Left:
4d 17h 48m


SUPERB HUGE! Antique Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Porcelain Figure Vase 19th C

Watchers: 66
Bid Price: $160.23
Time Left:
4d 17h 43m


MASSIVE CHINESE KANGXI PERIOD 1662-1722 POWDER BLUE VASE

Watchers: 65
Bid Price: $810.00
Time Left:
2d 4h 56m


Very Beautiful Chinese Porcelain Wucai Vase-Figures-19th C.TOP!

Watchers: 65
Bid Price: $1,134.00
Time Left:
1d 4h 46m


antique old natural red coral necklace with gold clasp other cabochons sale

Watchers: 64
Bid Price: $156.00
Time Left:
4d 20h 18m


16th Century Chinese Longquan Celadon Glaze Incised Porcelain Vase

Watchers: 64
Buy It Now: $2000.00
Time Left:
2d 7h 28m


PAIR Antique Chinese Blue and White Prunus Blossom Temple Vase & Lid KANGXI 19 C

Watchers: 64
Bid Price: $41.05
Time Left:
4d 18h 49m


FINE! Pair Antique 19 C Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Mandarin Gilt Dragon Vase

Watchers: 63
Bid Price: $100.64
Time Left:
4d 18h 33m


LARGE Antique Chinese Porcelain Canton Famille Rose Figure Lion Mask Vase 19th C

Watchers: 61
Bid Price: $75.48
Time Left:
4d 18h 28m


Antique Chinese Blue White Porcelain Moon Flask Vase Qianlong mark

Watchers: 60
Buy It Now: $6908.88
Time Left:
3d 6h 10m


LARGE Antique Chinese Porcelain Famille Rose Crane Pillow Guangxu Mark Republic

Watchers: 59
Bid Price: $41.05
Time Left:
4d 18h 35m


Estate Old House Chinese Porcelain Bowl It Marked Asian China

Watchers: 58
Bid Price: $202.50
Time Left:
7h 32m


FINE! Antique Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Dragon Phoenix Tail Vase KANGXI

Watchers: 58
Bid Price: $117.85
Time Left:
4d 17h 46m


FINE! Antique Chinese Blue and White Famille Rose Mandarin Gu Vase QIANLONG 18 C

Watchers: 57
Bid Price: $15.23
Time Left:
4d 18h 46m


Antique Chinese Bronze Cong Vase Incised Four Flowers 19th / 20th C

Watchers: 57
Bid Price: $34.43
Time Left:
4d 19h 5m


A Monumental Chinese Qing Dynasty Famille Rose Porcelain Figure Vase.

Watchers: 54
Buy It Now: $12500.00
Time Left:
4d 11m


PAIR Antique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain FLUTED Flower Vase QIANLONG 18th C

Watchers: 54
Bid Price: $35.75
Time Left:
4d 18h 47m


A Pair Chinese Porcelain Vases With Ladies&Poetry-1903-Artist!

Watchers: 53
Bid Price: $1,650.00
Time Left:
1d 4h 49m


ANTIQUE CHINESE QING PORCELAIN MINIATURE BOTTLE VASE, TURQUOISE MONOCHROME GLAZE

Watchers: 51
Bid Price: $8.61
Time Left:
2d 23h 1m


Miniature Signed Antique circa-1900 Chinese Monochrome Yellow Pottery Vase, NR

Watchers: 51
Bid Price: $56.00
Time Left:
1d 2h 44m


Oriental Porcelain Blue and White Chinese Vase Excellent Condition

Watchers: 49
Buy It Now: $15.95
Time Left:
14d 20h 51m


5.5" Antique Chinese Porcelain Vase - Iron Red & Gilt - Qianlong Mark - Qing

Watchers: 48
Bid Price: $31.78
Time Left:
1d 23h 5m


STUNNING Chinese 18-19thC Antiques Porcelain Oriental Blue and White Bowl

Watchers: 48
Bid Price: $35.75
Time Left:
4d 17h 28m


IMPORTANT CHINESE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD PRONK STYLE B/W VASE

Watchers: 47
Bid Price: $36.00
Time Left:
2d 5h 43m


FINE! 19th C Chinese Porcelain Crackle Glaze Blue Enamel Dragon Vase Jardiniere

Watchers: 46
Bid Price: $25.16
Time Left:
4d 17h 51m


antique18th c chinese porcelain brush pot bitong celadon ground qianlong period

Watchers: 46
Bid Price: $13.90
Time Left:
21h 1m


DELICATE JAPANESE CHINA FAMILLE ROSE PORCELAIN HAND PAINTING BELLE VASE QIANLONG

Watchers: 46
Buy It Now: $31.34
Time Left:
5d 17h 26m


fine chinese imperial yellow ground porcelain incense burner censer yongzheng mk

Watchers: 45
Bid Price: $86.07
Time Left:
20h 52m


VERY BEAUTIFUL OLD CHINESE CINNABAR LACQUER VASE - DEEP CARVING - EXTREMELY RARE

Watchers: 45
Bid Price: $72.83
Time Left:
3d 5h 22m


IMPRESSIVE 19thC Chinese Canton Enamel Box Oriental Cloisonne Antiques

Watchers: 45
Bid Price: $74.16
Time Left:
4d 17h 16m


RARE Vung Tau Chinese Shipwreck Guglet Vase Cargo c1690 Christies Provenance

Watchers: 45
Buy It Now: $2449.77
Time Left:
18h 30m


good chinese blue and white porcelain vase on wood stand bearing marks oriental

Watchers: 45
Bid Price: $34.43
Time Left:
4d 15h 9m


A Chinese Archaistic Bronze Arrow Vase, Six Character Mark, Late Qing Dynasty

Watchers: 45
Bid Price: $15.23
Time Left:
4d 17h 41m


Museum Quality Antique Sterling Silver Chinese Filigree Vase w Bats Signed 950g

Watchers: 44
Bid Price: $338.00
Time Left:
5d 1h 7m


VERY INTERESTING OLD CHINESE BLUE BRUSH POT WITH SEAL MARK & RAISED DRAGONS RARE

Watchers: 44
Bid Price: $165.53
Time Left:
2d 4h 53m