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.


Walter Bosse Ceramic Elephant 1930’s Kufstein Austria Studio

High Bid: $390.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
5d 19h 56m


Mid Century Modern Harrison Mcintosh California Studio Pottery Pitcher RARE

High Bid: $202.50
Bids: 15
Time Left:
5d 17h


~ Patricia Garrett Great Impressions Studio Art Pottery Acorn Squash Teapot ~

High Bid: $88.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
15h 4m


Karen Karnes Studio Art Pottery Lidded Jar

High Bid: $76.00
Bids: 7
Time Left:
4d 19h 42m


sign Susan Brown Freeman Alabama studio art pottery sgraffito pitcher blue glaze

High Bid: $75.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 10h 53m


Large Ana Varela Studio Pottery/Stoneware 2 Cats Lidded Treat Jar SIGNED/DATED!

High Bid: $59.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
18h 56m


David Snair Ohio Studio Pottery 1975 Miniature Bud Vase Crystalline Glaze EUC

High Bid: $49.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 14h 2m


Karen Karnes Studio Art Pottery Charger Plate Modernist Glaze

High Bid: $43.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
4d 19h 39m


Vintage Hansen - Ross Canadian Studio Art Pottery Vase Saskatchewan

High Bid: $42.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
1d 21h 41m


Susan Winget A Christmas Story child's place setting Portmeirion Studio

High Bid: $42.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 3h 2m


Lot Of 4 PORTMEIRION STUDIO CHINA SUSAN WINGET A CHRISTMAS STORY SALAD PLATES

High Bid: $40.95
Bids: 3
Time Left:
14h 35m


Vint. Mid Century Charles Sucsan Quebec Canada Modernist Studio Art Pottery Vase

High Bid: $38.07
Bids: 2
Time Left:
1d 19h 46m


ETTA B Studio Pottery Christmas Holiday Holly Sprig Leaf Berry Condiment Bowl

High Bid: $36.99
Bids: 3
Time Left:
4d 22h 26m


Large Signed Richard Abnet Studio Pottery Goblet

High Bid: $35.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 21h 25m


RARE PATRICIA GARRETT 99' GREAT IMPRESSIONS STUDIO POTTERY BAKED POTATO

High Bid: $29.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
19h 43m


Portmeirion Studio A Christmas Story Susan Winget Sleigh Candle lamp

High Bid: $27.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 21h 53m


Bitossi Salt and Pepper Shakers Goodfriend Excellent Condition Studio Pottery

High Bid: $25.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 20h 13m


Vintage SIGNED W J GORDY HAND MADE PITCHER GEORGIA STUDIO SOUTHERN POTTERY

High Bid: $23.50
Bids: 6
Time Left:
1d 18h 21m


Vintage Ceramic Art Studios Mama Bear With Baby Salt And Pepper Setting Nice

High Bid: $20.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
18h 44m


1945 Eugene Deutch Original Press Release Photo Pottery Studio and Label / Sign

High Bid: $20.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
2d 23h 24m


Vintage Stoneware Studio Art Pottery Footed Teapot Gourgeous - Signed by Artist

High Bid: $20.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 21h


Lundberg Studios Glass World Globe 4 1/2 Inches Numbered Signed Dated 2001

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 22h 20m


Set of 4 DANSK GRAVES STUDIO Pasta/Soup Bowls, AnG.L Yellow/Maize Color

High Bid: $19.95
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 9h 33m


Susan Winget Night Before Christmas Dish Set 12 pcs Portmeirion Studio All Good

High Bid: $15.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
22h 25m


Dansk AnGL Michael Graves Studio green creamer and sugar 2004-2005

High Bid: $15.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 20h 56m