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! Harding Black Studio Pottery Bowl 1962 Red Oxblood Ribbed Bowl Mid Century

High Bid: $400.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 1h 59m


Steve Salisian Large Carved Studio Pottery Vase

High Bid: $350.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
5d 27m


Toshiko Takaezu - Studio Pottery - Wood-Fired Tea Bowl

High Bid: $279.99
Bids: 2
Time Left:
3d 20h 28m


ROSENTHAL STUDIO-LINIE "LOT OF 3" CRYSTAL COLLECTORS DECANTERS [NEW/UNIQUE]

High Bid: $259.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
5d 8h 44m


GREAT 1960s NUDE LADY ON HORSE COLUMBIAN STUDIO ART POTTERY FIGURE BOTERO

High Bid: $211.50
Bids: 12
Time Left:
47m 18s


Rare Early Edwin and Mary Scheier Studio Hillcrock Pottery Vase - 1939

High Bid: $200.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 21h 16m


Rare Vintage Harlan House RCA Studio Pottery Vase 1975 Canada Canadian

High Bid: $131.87
Bids: 6
Time Left:
25m 52s


Siegele & Haley Buzzard Mountin Studio Art Pottery Teapot 1991 Earthtones

High Bid: $101.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
8d 1h 25m


Warren MacKenzie Studio Tea Bowl (Pair)

High Bid: $96.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
2d 22h 27m


BILL HERB - POTTERY VESSEL - RAKU STUDIO ART - POTTERY VASE - SIGNED "HERB" 92

High Bid: $89.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
14h 15m


65pc Vintage ROSENTHAL Porcelain Studio Line Baumann Pucci Piemonte Dinner Set

High Bid: $89.00
Bids: 13
Time Left:
22h 20m


EXTREMELY RARE HEATH CERAMICS BIOMORPHIC STUDIO BUD VASE c. 1970

High Bid: $80.01
Bids: 4
Time Left:
5d 21h 15m


Ruby O'Bourke - Mills College / Ruby's Clay Studio & Gallery San Francisco

High Bid: $75.77
Bids: 4
Time Left:
2d 20h 5m


WARREN MACKENZIE STUDIO POTTERY...FOOTED CROCK

High Bid: $72.45
Bids: 4
Time Left:
40m 42s


Vtg MATTHEW PATTON Studio Art Abstract Stoneware Pottery Bowl Made in WA footed

High Bid: $59.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 18h 10m


Andersen Design Studio Pottery Blue Bird Maine 3"

High Bid: $49.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 14h 59m


Vintage Alvino Bagni Raymor Studio Seagarden Vase Art Pottery Italy Large 14.5"

High Bid: $49.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 11m


Ogontz - Lakeside, Ohio - Vintage Studio Art Pottery Vase Albert C. Armstrong

High Bid: $49.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
6d 16m


Funkware Studio Art Pottery Hand Thrown Frog teapot set 2 Mugs Jablonski Signed

High Bid: $49.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
8d 4h 9m


16" Vintage Studio Pottery Joel Edwards Weed Pot Brutalist Signed

High Bid: $46.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
5d 3h 54m


VINTAGE BEAR NAVAJO? HOPI INDIAN SIGNED SCULPTURE STERLING SILVER STUDIO STONE

High Bid: $46.00
Bids: 9
Time Left:
6d 17h 48m


vintage signed RUTH CURTIS leaf vase Oregon studio pottery

High Bid: $45.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
24m 14s


MCM Angelo Garzio Graffiti Squiggles Studio Pottery Flat LIdded Jar Eames Era

High Bid: $36.00
Bids: 4
Time Left:
8d 18h 38m


Vintage ROSENTHAL Bjorn Wiinblad Studio Line Signed Vase 1001 Nights 3 1/4" Tall

High Bid: $34.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 1h 28m


Vintage Charles Halling Studio Art Pottery Oval Shaped Vase Modern Pattern

High Bid: $34.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 20h 16m