FOUND > Shoebox Vase Fetches $535,000

Arrived in a Shoebox and set a New World Record

The Hans Coper Vase.

March 31, 2018
By Ruthie Bowles, Contributing Author for What Sells Best News

EXETER, UNITED KINGDOM - Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood reports a vase purchased for $350 (£250), and brought to the auction house in a shoebox, has garnered approximately $535,000 (£381,0000) at auction.

SELLER HAD NO IDEA OF VALUE

The small vase astounded Nic Saintey, a ceramics specialist, when it appeared out of the bottom of a shoebox on a valuation day in Devon. The woman who owned it knew she had a Hans Coper vase, as she had been an avid collector during the 1970’s, along with her husband. She had no idea of its value, so the estimate of £10,000 shocked her.

At the young age of 19, Hans Coper (1920 - 1981) escaped Nazi Germany by fleeing to Britain. He was held in Canada as an enemy alien until 1942, when he was allowed to return to Britain. In 1946, his association with Lucie Rie, an established studio potter, began. Despite having no prior experience in ceramics, he became her studio assistant.

Lucie Rie, Hans Coper's artistic partner and teacher (Thames News).

In 1958, he left to work in his own studio in Digswell House in Hertfordshire. As an established potter, he was already very popular. He had a penchant for altering his pieces after they were removed from the wheel, and he experimented with forms and techniques that were considered ahead of their time. He seemed inspired by Aegean artifacts, which gave his pieces a decidedly modern and contemporary feel.

Alan Firth interview, discusses a similar Hans Coper vase at 2:56 (Hepworth Wakefield).

After 25 minutes of bidding, the auctioneers set a new record in Exter for a piece by Hans Coper. The broken record was set in 2011, and was £181,000 for a mural. The Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood saleroom sat in electrified silence as a new world record for a piece of studio pottery was set, and then rousing applause began.

WHY IT’S RARE

Hans Coper’s work was highly valued, even while he was living. Many major museums around the world exhibit his work today, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the York Art Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. His work can also be found in many private collections. The Coventry Cathedral commissioned one of his best-known works in 1962: three seven-foot candlesticks.

COMPARABLE FINDS

For modern studio pottery pieces, this discovery is a mind-blowing surprise when compared with the other pieces we’ve tracked recently. Modern studio pieces don’t usually have such a high price tag, so we’ll be watching the results of any future similar pieces very carefully.

The price of pottery can fluctuate hugely based on small easy-to-miss details. If you think you have found something, you may consider contacting Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood, or going to our free appraisals page to check with the experts listed there.

NEW WORLD RECORD

On Tuesday, February 27th, 2018, the Hans Coper stoneware vase sold for around $535,000 after fees, as Lot 129. This is the highest price ever for a piece of modern and contemporary studio pottery, and it set a world record. The presale estimate was only $14,000 (£10,000).

MONITOR STUDIO POTTERY PRICES

To monitor the real-time price strength of more common studio pottery, keep an eye on the highest bid items in the pottery category, on eBay (below). To research sold prices of rare or common pottery items, click here.


Signed ARDMORE Studio Sabelo Sondy 2011 Giraffe Ceramic Art Pottery Teapot RJH

High Bid: $760.00
Bids: 44
Time Left:
16h 44m


Signed ARDMORE Studio Sabelo Xolly Africa Cheetah Ceramic Art Pottery Teapot RJH

High Bid: $382.00
Bids: 28
Time Left:
16h 47m


Rare early Bjorn Wiinblad studio ceramic 3 candle stick sculpture, perfect, 1966

High Bid: $209.49
Bids: 27
Time Left:
9h 48m


SOLVEIG COX Mid-Century Modern Studio Pottery Wedding Couple SIGNED/orig.Label

High Bid: $160.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
7d 4h 38m


Mary Gates Dewey Studio Ceramic Cat Sculpture Pottery Signed 2006

High Bid: $147.38
Bids: 8
Time Left:
8d 17h 25m


STUDIO NOVA dinnerware BARRIER REEF 66pc set plates, cups, bowl

High Bid: $100.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
11h 2m


Large Earthgender David Cressey Mid Century Studio Art Pottery Blue

High Bid: $89.99
Bids: 2
Time Left:
1d 15h 48m


JAN & HELGA GROVE SIGNED COBALT BLUE VASE STUDIO ART POTTERY 1966-2009 VICTORIA

High Bid: $89.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 15h 26m


Karen Karnes Vintage Vermont 10.125” New York Studio Pottery Plate

High Bid: $75.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 17h 6m


robert sperry studio pottery lidded container

High Bid: $61.00
Bids: 13
Time Left:
14h 48m


Door Studio Pottery Scott Draves Vase Matte Green Arts & Crafts Style

High Bid: $60.00
Bids: 10
Time Left:
14h 52m


Frances SENSKA studio BIRD pottery MSU Archie Bray Voulkos Montana AUCTION

High Bid: $50.00
Bids: 6
Time Left:
1d 17h 3m


DOREEN BASKIN- CERAMIC ART STUDIO-SIGNED FOOTED DISH-AMERICAN ARTIST-SNAKE-CAT

High Bid: $49.98
Bids: 1
Time Left:
9d 8h 3m


ROSENTHAL STUDIO LINIE MEDUSA VERSACE SQUARE DISH - GERMANY

High Bid: $47.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
9h


Modern Japanese Studio Art pottery Terracotta Sand Glaze Oil Spot Raku

High Bid: $45.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 14h 58m


Signed Tom & Elaine COLEMAN Purple Red Glaze Studio Pottery Weed Pot Vase

High Bid: $42.00
Bids: 6
Time Left:
14h 48m


STEVE VASILIOU STUDIO ART POTTERY WEST VIRGINIA BIRD ON BRANCH WITH BERRIES 1998

High Bid: $39.99
Bids: 2
Time Left:
2d 13h 37m


Vintage 60-70's STUDIO KERAMIK Blue Vase West German Pottery Fat Lava Period MCM

High Bid: $35.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
8h 29m


Andersen Design Studio of Maine Art Pottery Duck Figure

High Bid: $35.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
13h 20m


Vintage 60-70's STUDIO KERAMIK FREIDEL SCHMIDT Vase West German Pottery Fat Lava

High Bid: $31.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
8h 40m


Vintage Rare Flat 1960-70s STUDIO KERAMIK Vase West German Pottery Fat Lava Era

High Bid: $29.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
9h 3m


Polia Pillin Studio Pottery Vase ***DAMAGED***

High Bid: $29.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 7h 18m


David Cressey Planter Vase Architectural MCM VTG Studio Art Pottery Tri Glaze

High Bid: $29.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
13h 31m


Vintage 60-70's STUDIO KERAMIK SOLIFLEUR Vase West German Pottery Fat Lava Era

High Bid: $28.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
8h 46m


Ephraim Faience Studio Pottery Laura Klein Bud Vase 2001 Matte Green

High Bid: $28.88
Bids: 1
Time Left:
7d 14h 54m