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.


Richard Klemm Design Studio - Antique Floral Covered Soup Bowls w/Plates (4)

High Bid: $178.49
Bids: 8
Time Left:
21h 6m


Robert Maxwell studio pottery: big mouth critter beastie INSTANT COLLECTION

High Bid: $160.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1h 25m


Louis Mendez Studio Pottery Mask 3 X 10 X 7" SIGNED with metal display stand

High Bid: $103.50
Bids: 9
Time Left:
1h 42m


Richard Klemm Dresden Studio - Antique Teapot Turquoise 

High Bid: $93.00
Bids: 6
Time Left:
5d 17h 26m


Antique Dresden Reticulated Plate - Helena Wolfsohn Studio - Pink

High Bid: $53.00
Bids: 8
Time Left:
19h 54m


RAE DUNN Nest 6" Plate w/early Magenta M Studios Mark

High Bid: $51.00
Bids: 11
Time Left:
3d 19h 51m


Vintage ROSENTHAL Porcelaine NOIRE Bjorn Wiinblad Studio Line Bisque Vase

High Bid: $49.50
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 4h 11m


Studio Scott Draves Door Pottery 6 3/4" Tall Mission Art & Crafts Vase

High Bid: $49.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 19h 53m


SET of 4 Studio Designworks Tea Coffee Set Vase Cream Sugar

High Bid: $47.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 2h 33m


Mackenzie Childs Studio Art Pottery Fluted Edge Cake Pie Dessert Stand NR LRR

High Bid: $47.00
Bids: 7
Time Left:
6d 4h 6m


Antique Dresden Reticulated Plate - Helena Wolfsohn Studio - Blue

High Bid: $43.00
Bids: 5
Time Left:
19h 46m


15 1/4” Carved Doyle Lane Studio Pottery Fish

High Bid: $41.00
Bids: 8
Time Left:
2d 4h 19m


EDWARD S. EBERLE PHILADELPHIA STUDIO CERAMIC PORCELAIN BOWL CAT DRAWING DESIGN

High Bid: $40.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4h 10m


Doyle Lane Studio Pottery Fish Beaded Glaze - Incomplete

High Bid: $37.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
4h 37m


Doyle Lane Multi-color Glazed Fish - Incomplete - Studio Pottery

High Bid: $37.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
4h 38m


Antique Dresden Demitasse w/Saucer - Helena Wolfsohn Studio - Turquoise

High Bid: $36.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
5d 19h 50m


Rosenthal 'Studio Line' #47 Drop Shaped Jar w/Lid; Germany

High Bid: $32.00
Bids: 10
Time Left:
2d 20h 33m


Antique Dresden Plate 8"  - Adolph Hamann Studio - Turquoise

High Bid: $30.00
Bids: 3
Time Left:
4d 18h 40m


Doyle Lane Fish Head California Studio Pottery Green Glaze

High Bid: $26.00
Bids: 7
Time Left:
5h 20m


Roycroft / Mission Guild Studio Terracotta Tile Vase 

High Bid: $25.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
2d 15h 8m


Lot of 5 VINTAGE STUDIO ART POTTERY VASES

High Bid: $25.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 22h 24m


Vintage Poodle Dog Ceramic Arts Studio Madison Wisconsin figurines 3" tall

High Bid: $20.01
Bids: 3
Time Left:
1d 1h 58m


Stephan Pearce Shanagarry Irish Studio Art Pottery Pitcher

High Bid: $20.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
7d 3h 10m


Rosenthal Studio Linie Porcelain Lovers Figurine Raymond Peynet 7010 9.5"

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 3h 17m


Rosenthal Studio Line Bjorn Wiinblad "Sinbad der Seefahrer" Plate 1 & 2 w/ Box

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 20h 46m