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.


Rare WIENER WERKSTATTE Studio Art Pottery Figure by Susi Singer Vienna Austria

High Bid: $700.00
Bids: 11
Time Left:
1d 8h 36m


Makoto Yabe Japanese American Studio Art Pottery

High Bid: $680.00
Bids: 11
Time Left:
21h 41m


Karen Karnes Studio Art Pottery Modernist Abstract MCM Grog Charger

High Bid: $274.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
3d 4h 31m


Gerry Williams Studio Pottery Decorated Vase Faces

High Bid: $142.50
Bids: 2
Time Left:
7d 23h 39m


Rosenthal China Bowl Studio Line Fantasia BJORN WIINBLAD

High Bid: $129.95
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1h 51m


Jonathan Adler Signed Numbered 2006 Studio Line Bowl Rare Form 25/100 Pottery

High Bid: $88.88
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 7h 39m


McCarty Pottery Nutmeg Chicken Cooker NEW NEVER USED! FROM McCarty Studio!

High Bid: $60.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
4d 1h 31m


large heavy studio pottery female sculptural clay 3-d head study red clay detail

High Bid: $49.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 5h 42m


Mid Century Modern Michael Cohen Studio Pillar Vase 8” Electric Blue

High Bid: $39.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 22h


Val Knight Studio Pottery Stoneware Figurine Native American Figure

High Bid: $35.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 3h 18m


Gerry Williams Legendary Studio Potter - Very Early Inscribed Red Clay Tray MCM

High Bid: $34.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 6h 25m


Rosenthal Germany Studio Linie Line Punktal Plates Karnagel 6  Yellow

High Bid: $34.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 7h 31m


BEVAN NORKIN Blue Crystalline Glaze Studio Pottery Vase, 7" 1984

High Bid: $31.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
4h 53m


Vintage Mid Century Modern Studio Art Pottery Bowl Toshiko Takaezu

High Bid: $29.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 7h 13m


Signed Peter Leach Studio Art Pottery Stoneware Yunomi Cup Vase

High Bid: $25.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 19h 57m


Vintage Dixon Art Studios 22K Weeping Gold 2 Handle Vase Urn 9.25" Tall

High Bid: $24.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 6h 9m


Signed Art Studio Hand Crafted Pottery Large Covered Bowl w/Shrimp on Top

High Bid: $22.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 15m


Bjorn Wiinblad Rosenthal Studio Line Wall Plate~Bird Lady~Porcelaine Noire~13"

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 3h 58m


Vintage Art Deco Beswick Studio Pottery Vase 5"

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 4m


ROSENTHAL STUDIO LINE PLATTER ROMANCE COLLECTION

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 6h 56m


Art Pottery, Signed Jane Peiser, Studio Handcrafted, Bell, Camel

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 7h 14m


STUDIO POTTERY WESTERN COWBOY COWGIRL VASE CACTUS SCENIC SIGNED WW HAND TURNED

High Bid: $18.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
7h 8m


4 Studio Nova Studio Fish Shaped Plates Dishes Coral Fish & Ocean Handpainted

High Bid: $16.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
19h 15m


Vintage Bev Freeburg Studio Pottery Salt Glaze Stoneware Vase Rare Form Excellen

High Bid: $14.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
8d 8h 9m


Old Studio Tour Brochure Van Briggle Art Pottery Colorado Springs Color Litho

High Bid: $14.25
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 9h 1m