FOUND - Antique Plate Fetches $300,000

Owners Stunned... thought it was an ordinary plate

Video
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers holding the plate.

October 11, 2017
By Ruthie Bowles, Contributing Author for What Sells Best

DERBYSHIRE, UK (VIDEO) - Hansons Auctioneers reported that an ancient Chinese plate, discovered in a kitchen cupboard in South Derbyshire, sold for the unbelievable price of £230,000 ($306,153).

THE STORY

After it was revealed that there was a replica plate in the National Museum of China, Chinese buyers came out in droves to buy a piece of their history. Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire opened 19 phone lines for bidders, a new record for the auction house.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, was the Master of Ceremonies. He remained calm under pressure, despite describing this as “one of the most exciting auctions I have ever had the honour of being involved in. Having 19 phone bidders was a record for us and I suspect it may be a record for any auction house outside London.”

They originally believed the plate would sell for £40,000-60,000. However, once the existence of a replica in the National Chinese Museum was revealed, that estimate seemed conservative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also houses a plate similar to the one that sold in Derbyshire.

Three siblings from South Derbyshire sold the plate. They inherited it from their grandmother two years ago, and tucked it away in a kitchen cabinet. The family wishes to remain anonymous, but one member said “We’re stunned, totally stunned, and ecstatic. We never expected this at all. We just thought it was an ordinary plate given to our granny and passed down to us. This has really come out of the blue. We might have a large fish and chips tonight!”

“We knew it was valuable, possibly worth a couple of thousand pounds. It had a metal mount on it because Granny had it hanging on the wall in her lounge where it took pride of place. Her lounge was like a Chinese palace.”

The family is descended from a self-made Scotsman, who acquired the plate more than a century ago, among many other items. Alexander Robertson was born in Thornhill, Scotland in 1861. He immigrated to America, and became the Vice President of the Continental and Commercial Bank of Chicago in 1906.

He lived the life of a prosperous man, and purchased the plate in 1901. Despite marrying, he didn’t have children. Upon his death at the age of 61, all of his worldly possessions were shipped to Edinburgh, Scotland. They were divided among his living relatives, and passed down through the years.

The plate is over 260 years old, measuring 13 inches in diameter. It is adorned on both sides with delicate, white blossoms on leafy branches. The flowers stand out against the rich blue background, and the petals and leaves are detailed with fine slip trailing.

WHY IT'S RARE

This plate carries the reign mark of Emperor Yongzheng (meaning Harmonious Justice), and it dates back to 1723-1735. His reign was noted for its peace and prosperity. He used military power to secure the Qing Dynasty’s power, while cracking down on internal corruption. We are looking at a highly sought after collectible, because items like this rarely exist outside of museums.

TOP CHINESE PORCELAIN FINDS

With rare Chinese porcelain igniting fierce bidding wars ending with astronomical prices, sometimes in the millions. We are constantly amazed by some of the discoveries still being found. Here are couple of examples this year:

It takes a professional’s eye to recognize authentic Chinese porcelain. If you think you have found an item made of rare Chinese porcelain, take advantage of the free expert advice at Hansons, or on our appraisals page.

AUCTION INFORMATION

This lovely plate sold at the Hansons Auctioneers Fine Arts and Asian Auction on Friday, September 29th, 2017.

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