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.


Toni Moretto signed sculpture of magician doing magic, Lo Scricciolo studio

High Bid: $499.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 17h 17m


Beautiful Red / Glossy Oxblood Glaze Vase Gerry WIlliams Studio Pottery Ceramics

High Bid: $135.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
15h 16m


Rare HTF Set 4 Otto & Vivika Heino Ojai Studio Art Pottery Mugs Signed V+O MCM

High Bid: $99.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 7m


4 Woodland Home Studio Moose Square Dinner Plates. VGC

High Bid: $77.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 14h 18m


SANTA BARBARA CERAMIC DESIGN Studio Art Teapot By Dorie Knight 7”x9” Shakespeare

High Bid: $67.00
Bids: 7
Time Left:
11h 52m


McCarty Pottery COTTON ROW Nutmeg Large bowl from McCarty STUDIO! SACK & CARD

High Bid: $66.86
Bids: 15
Time Left:
20h 48m


Anthony Theakston Studio Pottery Art Deco Signed Mottled Blue Beige Penguin EUC

High Bid: $59.50
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 14h 14m


Vintage Betty Woodman Scultpured Orange White Studio Pottery Pitcher

High Bid: $51.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
4d 18h 11m


Virginia Cartwright Studio Pottery Vase

High Bid: $50.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 19h 43m


Juana Jurado, Mata Ortiz pottery, art studio pottery, Mexico, signed

High Bid: $50.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
5d 17h 36m


Antonio Prieto Hand Thrown Studio Pottery Mid Century Tea/Sake/Shot Glasses

High Bid: $49.95
Bids: 1
Time Left:
20h 6m


Woodland Collection By Home Studio 11" Square Dinner Plate Moose Tree Set of 4

High Bid: $49.95
Bids: 1
Time Left:
22h 30m


2x Vtg Italian Studio Pottery Blue BITOSSI Raymor Carved Mid Century Modern Vase

High Bid: $44.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 19h 44m


Tiffany Studios Favrile Style Turtleback Tile/Paperweight

High Bid: $40.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
4d 15h 32m


W.J. Gordy Georgia Studio Pottery Pair of Mini Pitchers Left & Right Handed

High Bid: $39.95
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 17h 3m


Vintage 60-70's STUDIO OP ART Blue Ball Vase West German Pottery Fat Lava Era

High Bid: $34.00
Bids: 13
Time Left:
3d 12h 54m


McCARTY POTTERY CICADA LOCUST McCarty STUDIO MERIGOLD, MISSISSIPPI SIGNED! NEW!

High Bid: $31.00
Bids: 6
Time Left:
1d 20h 1m


4 SIGNED MARJ PEELER STUDIO ART POTTERY WINE GOBLETS INDIANA POTTER

High Bid: $30.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 8h 18m


McCarty Pottery Nutmeg wine Glasses, new Never used! from McCarty's studio

High Bid: $28.00
Bids: 14
Time Left:
10h 22m


Dayton Ohio Art Institute Oktoberfest 2000 Greer Studio Pottery Large Stein EUC

High Bid: $27.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 7h 30m


McCarty Pottery ALLIGATOR FROM McCarty's STUDIO SACK & CARD INCLUDED ! SIGNED

High Bid: $27.50
Bids: 21
Time Left:
19h 38m


McCarty Pottery Nutmeg LARGE FAT ADORABLE PERKY Wren Bird McCarty's STUDIO NEW!

High Bid: $27.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
1d 19h 28m


Vintage 60-70's German STUDIO ART Stem Vase Blue Marked Pottery Fat Lava Era

High Bid: $26.49
Bids: 6
Time Left:
3d 12h 55m


5 Vintage Eva Zeisel Studio 10 Hallcraft China Dinner Plates Mid Century Modern

High Bid: $26.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
20h 52m


2 Vintage Ceramic Arts Studio Ballerina shelf sitters En Repose - perfect cndtn

High Bid: $25.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 13h 50m