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.


Magdalena Suarez Frimkess Studio Pottery 6 3/4'' Bowl 2003 Michael Art

High Bid: $505.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
7d 8h 40m


Michael Corney Studio Pottery Bowl Vintage 1993 Great gently used condition 

High Bid: $210.50
Bids: 8
Time Left:
2d 23h 15m


Bjorn Wiinblad Rosenthal Studio Linie Vase White - Face Vase 14 1/4" Tall

High Bid: $177.50
Bids: 24
Time Left:
2d 9h 40m


Vintage Deco University North Dakota Mines Studio Pottery Bowl Vase "Huck" UND

High Bid: $145.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 6h 14m


Vintage Denis Vibert Pine Tree Kiln Maine Art Studio Pottery large bowl

High Bid: $125.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 4h 10m


Vintage Neil Douglas Printed Pottery Dish The Bush Australia Studio Kangaroos

High Bid: $87.00
Bids: 2
Time Left:
5h 20m


Matthew Metz American Studio Art Pottery Vase Bird Face

High Bid: $61.00
Bids: 6
Time Left:
1d 9h 49m


John Ffrench, Arklow Studio Pottery, Retro Platter

High Bid: $60.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
4d 22h 50m


Studio Scott Draves Door Pottery 6 1/4" Tall Mission Art & Crafts Vase

High Bid: $59.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 11h 18m


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

High Bid: $54.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 11h 5m


LARGE MODERNIST STUDIO POTTERY BOWL BY MAKOTO YABE (1947-2005)

High Bid: $50.53
Bids: 3
Time Left:
7d 9h 40m


Nick Joerling Studio Pottery Stoneware Small Cups Pair Penland North Carolina

High Bid: $48.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 2h 50m


Buzzard Mountain Siegele & Haley Studio : Fish Studio Art Pottery Bowl 1993

High Bid: $39.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 8h 41m


signed LOUIS MIDEKE NW studio pottery vase Washington State

High Bid: $35.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2d 5h 16m


1960-70's Vintage STUDIO KERAMIK Blue-Green Vase West German Pottery Fat Lava

High Bid: $32.00
Bids: 5
Time Left:
2h 26m


Vintage Studio Art Pottery Mid Century Modern Cannell & Chaffin Chen Ware Bowl

High Bid: $29.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
57m 55s


Lot of 7 10 1/2" Rosenthal Studio-Line German Neon New Wave Dinner Plates

High Bid: $27.95
Bids: 2
Time Left:
4d 23h 57m


SET 4 VINTAGE ROWANTREES KILN STUDIO POTTERY PETAL DISHES, DELICATE SOFT COLORS

High Bid: $24.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 10h 33m


Vintage 1960-1970s STUDIO ART KERAMIK Jug Vase West German Pottery Fat Lava Era

High Bid: $23.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
2h 37m


Handmade Studio Pottery Vessel with Potter's Signature

High Bid: $21.50
Bids: 3
Time Left:
3d 4h 29m


Gary Holt Ceramic Plate Studio Pottery

High Bid: $20.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3h 40m


Lot of 6 Rosenthal Studio-Line Neon Bread and Butter Plates Made in Germany

High Bid: $19.99
Bids: 1
Time Left:
5d


ROSENTHAL Studio-Linie Ambrogio Pozzi PLISSE Vase ~ Lady Gown Vase ~ Studio Art

High Bid: $19.95
Bids: 1
Time Left:
3d 9h 41m


2 ROSENTHAL STUDIO LINE BERLIN EMILIO PUCCI PIEMONTE BAUMANN VASE DISH SIGNED

High Bid: $19.00
Bids: 1
Time Left:
1d 9h 14m


Vintage Mid Century Per Linnemann-Schmidt PALSHUS Danish Studio Art Pottery VASE

High Bid: $15.50
Bids: 5
Time Left:
5d 8h 25m