FOUND > Attic Vase Fetches $19-Million

Kept in an old shoe-box, because nobody liked it

Rare 18th-century Chinese vase found in an attic.

Updated - June 12, 2018
By James Massey, What Sells Best News

PARIS - Sotheby's reports a rare vase discovered by chance in the attic of a family home, has fetched $19 million (€16.18 million) at auction.

THE DISCOVERY

The vase was left to the current owners grandparents by an uncle. Then, put away in an old shoe-box in the attic. According to a GeoBeats News report, it was because nobody in the family liked it.

The story of the vase discovery as told by Sotheby's.

It wasn't until the vase was taken to Sotheby's Paris office (still in the shoe-box) for a valuation. That the unsuspecting owners had any idea of its true value.

When Sotheby’s specialist Olivier Valmier, opened the box to take a look. He was immediately struck by the quality of the vases craftsmanship.

Research later revealed the 11-inch vase was 18th-century, and extremely rare. Produced for the Qianlong Emperor, by the finest craftsmen of the time.

WHY IT’S VALUABLE

According to Henry Howard-Sneyd, Sotheby's Chairman of Asian Art, Europe and Americas. Chinese art items are extremely sought after by collectors in todays marketplace.

“Chinese art has been admired and collected across Europe for centuries, but the importance of certain pieces is occasionally lost over time. Given the huge appetite for Chinese art among today’s collectors, now is the moment to scour your homes and attics, and to come to us with anything you might find!"

Sotheby's Asian art specialist can be found at the bottom of their press release here. You can also find information for free auction appraisals by other top auction houses, here.

SALE INFORMATION

The vase was sold for $19 million (€16.18 million) after buyer premium, by Sotheby's in Paris on June 12. The presale estimate was $600,000 to $850,000. The vase can be viewed further on Sotheby's website, here.

After the sale, we'll update this story with the final sale results. Sign up for our free treasure alerts to avoid missing the update and/or the discovery of other treasures.

Also, be sure to check out the following research tools and resources, which could help you find your next treasure.

FREE TOOLS & RESEARCH

RESEARCH SOLD PRICES - This gives you a general understanding of current market value, or the highest amounts people may be willing to pay for a particular item.

Comparing sold prices fetched by a variety of auction houses, can also help you determine which auction houses are having the greatest success promoting a particular type of item.

FREE APPRAISALS - Small details can make a big difference in a rare items price, and with forgers sometimes trying to cash in on rare items, it can be helpful to have a reputable expert take a look.



If you think you have something, one of the fastest ways to find out if it may be authentic, and valuable, is to head to our free appraisals page and check with several of the experts listed within the pottery and glass category.

MONITOR PRICES - Another way to monitor the price strength of more common ceramic items, is to keep an eye on the highest bid items in eBay's Ceramic and Asian Antique categories, as well as the antique Chinese vases (below).


HIGH BID > Qianlong Era
| 18th-Century (Reset)

ddChinese antique TongZhi period nyonya straits monumental vase Mid 19th century

Time Left: 3d 2h 24m
$1,313.00 with 13 bids


ddChinese Blue And White Jar, Early Qing Transitional.

Time Left: 1d 3h 36m
$720.00 with 41 bids


ddChinese Famille Rose Republic Period Qianlong Mark 100 Boys Tianqiuping 20” Vase

Time Left: 5d 14h 59m
$510.00 with 2 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Rose Figures Porcelain Vase Blue Characters Mark

Time Left: 1d 16h 57m
$410.00 with 36 bids


dd19th Century Chinese porcelian moonflask Qing

Time Left: 5d 15h 31m
$404.00 with 2 bids


ddOLD CHINESE RU GLAZE RU KILN GILDING VASE (K951)

Time Left: 2d 21h 37m
$369.99 with 1 bids


dd ANTIQUE CHINESE 19th CANTON MANDARIN FAMILLE ROSE Large VASE

Time Left: 3d 16h 2m
$358.62 with 10 bids


ddNice large pair of 19th century Chinese famille rose vases

Time Left: 1d 13h 55m
$310.34 with 13 bids


ddVery large pair of 19th century Chinese blue and white vases

Time Left: 1d 14h 16m
$303.45 with 34 bids


dd1790 Antique Chinese Canton Blue & white Porcelain Cider Jug Qianlong Export

Time Left: 3d 2h 29m
$302.00 with 23 bids


ddOLD RARE CHINESE RU GLAZE RU KILN VASE MARKED (K915)

Time Left: 3d 20h 11m
$299.99 with 1 bids


ddChinese Red Glazed Bottle Table Lamp

Time Left: 7m 5s
$292.00 with 10 bids


ddChinese double gourd porcelain vase, fine Transitional style landscape and warri

Time Left: 1d 15h 55m
$275.00 with 17 bids


ddNice Pair of Chinese REPUBLIC porcelain mirrored fencai vases with poems

Time Left: 2d 11h 59m
$270.00 with 4 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Verte Porcelain Vase

Time Left: 1d 2h 47m
$250.50 with 17 bids


ddAn Early Qing Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Tea Pot.

Time Left: 3d 19h 33m
$250.00 with 1 bids


ddPair Antique Chinese Cinnabar & Black Lacquer Vases w/ Carved Teak Bases

Time Left: 51m 40s
$207.50 with 18 bids


ddChinese Qianlong Blue enamel mark Period Famille Rose Porcelain Millefiori Bowls

Time Left: 3d 2h 51m
$202.50 with 12 bids


ddBlue and White Chinese Porcelain Gourd Vase

Time Left: 4d 20h 58m
$143.45 with 13 bids


ddAntique Chinese Porcelain Vase 16"

Time Left: 8d 1h 15m
$142.50 with 23 bids


ddA 19TH CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAIN BLUE & WHITE VASE WITH FIGURES & CALLIGRAPHY

Time Left: 14h 32m
$140.69 with 18 bids


ddGOOD CHINESE EXPORT FAMILLE ROSE THAI BENCHARONG BUDDHA JAR, LARGE

Time Left: 4d 14h 52m
$132.50 with 2 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Verte Mirrored Pair Porcelain Ginger Jar Kangxi Mark

Time Left: 2d 3h 12m
$125.00 with 1 bids


ddKangxi Signed Antique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Vase w/dragon

Time Left: 3d 16h 31m
$102.50 with 19 bids


ddB723: Chinese flower vase of porcelain of beautiful SINSHA (cinnabar) glaze

Time Left: 1d 22h 9m
$101.00 with 2 bids


ddChinese Carved Jadeite Jade Covered Vase, Flowers, Leaves & Butterfly, 20th C.

Time Left: 15h 35m
$100.00 with 1 bids


ddAntique Chinese Pure Blue-Glazed Crackle Ceramic Porcelain Vase Good Condition

Time Left: 1d 16h 50m
$100.00 with 2 bids


ddAN ANTIQUE CHINESE EMBROIDERED SILK RANK BADGE

Time Left: 6d 1h 15m
$100.00 with 6 bids


ddAttic Find: Asian Chinese Celadon Green Glazed 24” Lamp Ornate Floral Design.

Time Left: 6d 1h 45m
$99.95 with 1 bids


ddAttic Find: Asian Chinese Celadon Green Glazed 20” Lamp Very Ornate With Birds

Time Left: 6d 1h 49m
$99.95 with 1 bids


ddchinese porcelain vase

Time Left: 34m 6s
$92.00 with 20 bids


ddGOOD CHINESE 19TH CENTURY FAMILLE ROSE YELLOW BIRD CALLIGRAPHY VASE

Time Left: 4d 15h 2m
$89.99 with 1 bids


ddAntique Chinese Export Porcelain Mixed Blue-Green-Glaze Mix Ceramic Brush Pot

Time Left: 17h 41m
$89.00 with 15 bids


ddAN ANTIQUE CHINESE FAMILLE ROSE PORCELAIN DISH WITH UNDERWATER SCENE

Time Left: 6d 57m
$89.00 with 29 bids


ddAntique Blue White large Japanese Chinese Reticulated Hexagonal Porcelain Vase

Time Left: 1d 19h 54m
$85.67 with 2 bids


ddChinese Westen Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD) nice pottery big vase c7287

Time Left: 1d 2h 37m
$80.00 with 1 bids


ddChinese Warring states period (475-221BC) nice decorated pottery big jar c7353

Time Left: 1d 2h 45m
$80.00 with 1 bids


ddChinese Warring states period (475-221BC) nice decorated pottery large jar c7395

Time Left: 1d 2h 52m
$80.00 with 1 bids


ddChinese Famille Verte Crackle Glazed Vase, Bird

Time Left: 3d 2h 1m
$80.00 with 1 bids


ddChinese Antique Porcelain Vase Song period (1 pair) "9"(H) #MD312

Time Left: 1d 2h 43m
$78.00 with 3 bids


ddVintage Chinese Soapstone Phoenix Chrysanthemum Hand Carved Vase Republic Period

Time Left: 2d 1h 17m
$75.00 with 1 bids


ddChinese Antique Porcelain Vase Song Yuan Period "16.5" (H) #MD311

Time Left: 1d 2h 47m
$72.00 with 6 bids


ddImpressive Large Chinese 19thC Antiques Porcelain Oriental Blue White Pot

Time Left: 1d 13h 49m
$67.59 with 18 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Vase

Time Left: 1d 2h 25m
$66.00 with 10 bids


ddA LARGE ANTIQUE CHINESE FAMILLE ROSE PORCELAIN SEATED BUDDHA WITH MARK

Time Left: 6d 51m
$65.00 with 15 bids


dd19th c century famille verte Chinese Porcelain pottery vase with lid antique

Time Left: 3d 12h 43m
$63.00 with 5 bids


ddAntique Blue White Japanese Chinese Reticulated Hexagonal Porcelain Vase, vgc.

Time Left: 6d 10h 5m
$62.07 with 1 bids


ddChinese Export Famille Rose Figural Floral Butterfly Painted Porcelain Vase BPB

Time Left: 2d 1h 16m
$61.00 with 16 bids


ddChinese Porcelain Vase Qing Dynasty Guangxu Sang De Boeuf Flambe Oxblood Red

Time Left: 2h 49m
$59.99 with 1 bids


dd7"Chinese Qing Dynasty Pastel Painting Hexagon Porcelain Jar with Lid

Time Left: 6d 22h 57m
$59.99 with 1 bids


ddLarge Antique Old Chinese Copper Cloisonne Enamel Pot Vase Statue Flowers

Time Left: 5d 3h 58m
$56.00 with 5 bids


ddBEAUTIFUL PAIR ANTIQUE 19TH CENTURY CHINESE PORCELAIN PRUNUS PATTERN VASES

Time Left: 15h 1m
$55.17 with 1 bids


ddChinese Qing Blue&white Porcelain Dragon Pot

Time Left: 5d 12h 11m
$55.00 with 1 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Vase

Time Left: 1d 3h 3m
$53.00 with 8 bids


ddLot 3 Chinese Export Red Carved Cinnabar Floral Scroll Enamel & Brass Vases BPB

Time Left: 2d 3h 12m
$53.00 with 6 bids


ddChinese antique Guangxu period nyonya straits monumental vase Late 19th century

Time Left: 3d 2h
$53.00 with 8 bids


dd19th c century famille verte Chinese Porcelain pottery vase lid antique signed

Time Left: 3d 12h 48m
$53.00 with 5 bids


ddChinese Antique Porcelain Cup YongZheng Mark Qing China Asian

Time Left: 4h 35m
$51.00 with 20 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Ceramic Characters Poem Tile Board Plaque

Time Left: 18h 16m
$51.00 with 12 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Vase

Time Left: 1d 1h 51m
$51.00 with 20 bids


ddChinese Export Figural Floral Greek Key LARGE 15" Handpainted Porcelain Vase BPB

Time Left: 2d 1h 18m
$51.00 with 14 bids


ddCHINESE ANTIQUE DECORATED PORCELAIN VASE, ca. 1900

Time Left: 4d 20h 15m
$50.00 with 1 bids


ddA set of 3 Longuan style Chinese porcelain , celadon glaze vases

Time Left: 4d 2h 8m
$49.99 with 1 bids


ddIMPRESSIVE Chinese Oriental Porcelain Dragon Famille Rose Bowl Tea Set - Marked

Time Left: 1d 13h 41m
$48.28 with 22 bids


ddRARE Vtg Chinese Painted Enamel Yellow-Ground Qianlong Porcelain Dragon Vase

Time Left: 3d 2h 52m
$48.00 with 26 bids


ddCHINESE EXPORT ARMORIAL PLATE

Time Left: 5d 3h 25m
$46.00 with 8 bids


ddChinese Antique Pair of Yellow Glazed Porcelian Vases Early 20th

Time Left: 13h 42m
$45.52 with 18 bids


ddAntique Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Ginger Jar Vase Pot Early 20th Century

Time Left: 1d 11h 56m
$45.00 with 1 bids


ddPair of Antique Chinese Porcelain Crackled Square Vase Early Republic 11 3/8"

Time Left: 6d 22m
$45.00 with 9 bids


dd2 Large Collectable Vintage Oriental Ceramic Pink Vases

Time Left: 8d 19h 38m
$44.14 with 6 bids


ddAntique Chinese Vase Yongzheng with French Ormolu mounts Lamp

Time Left: 8d 13h 49m
$43.00 with 20 bids


ddChinese Export Carved Red Cinnabar Floral Scroll Blue Enamel 9" Mantle Vase BPB

Time Left: 2d 2h 40m
$41.00 with 8 bids


ddLarge 18" Chinese Porcelain Crackle Celadon Jar Vase not Bowl Box Charger Plate

Time Left: 2d 2h 52m
$41.00 with 18 bids


dd9" Ming Dynasty Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Dragon Mei Ping Vase

Time Left: 4d 13m
$39.00 with 1 bids


ddBeautiful blue glaze Chinese porcelain vase with six chinese characters mark

Time Left: 5d 16h 2m
$38.62 with 8 bids


ddFine Old Chinese Carved Carnelian Agate Chrysanthemum Mums Jade Tree Sculpture

Time Left: 3d 2h
$37.00 with 6 bids


ddSet Of 3 Chinese Antique Porcelain Sang De Oxblood Red-Glazed Vase & Pot & Cup

Time Left: 1d 17h 12m
$36.00 with 14 bids


ddAntique 19thC Chinese Porcelain Iron Red Multi Colored Lion Foo Dog Vase

Time Left: 2d 3h 7m
$36.00 with 6 bids


ddIMPRESSIVE Chinese Oriental Antiques Porcelain Famille Rose Tea Set with Mark

Time Left: 1d 13h 45m
$35.86 with 13 bids


dd19THC ANTIQUE CHINESE PORCELAIN GINGER JAR VASE BLUE & WHITE PRUNUS BLOSSOM

Time Left: 9d 13h 47m
$35.86 with 2 bids


dd19THC ANTIQUE CHINESE PORCELAIN GINGER JAR VASE BLUE & WHITE PRUNUS BLOSSOM

Time Left: 9d 13h 40m
$34.48 with 1 bids


ddPair of Fine Antique Chinese 18thC Hand-painted Cups

Time Left: 8d 15h 18m
$33.10 with 8 bids


ddAntique Chinese Porcelain Vase

Time Left: 8d 2h 46m
$33.00 with 4 bids


ddAntique Chinese 19th/ 20th C. Famille Rose Enameled Porcelain Wall/ Pocket Vase

Time Left: 2d 2h 2m
$32.00 with 15 bids


ddUnusual Chinese China Cloisonne VINTAGE OLD ORNATE VASE DRAGON READ

Time Left: 1d 22h 24m
$31.88 with 1 bids


ddChinese Qianlong 1736-95 Famille Rose Blue White Cup Antique Oriental Porcelain

Time Left: 8d 13h 41m
$31.72 with 13 bids


ddPair of 10"Capademonte Rose Vases

Time Left: 1d 16h 16m
$29.99 with 1 bids


ddAntique Armorial export large bowl french Samson 18th century

Time Left: 3d 2h 26m
$29.00 with 5 bids


ddPair of Fine Antique Chinese Hand-painted Famille Jaune Dishes - with mark

Time Left: 8d 14h 28m
$28.97 with 3 bids


ddANTIQUE 19TH CENTURY CHINESE CRACKLE GLAZE HANDPAINTED ENAMELS VASE

Time Left: 1d 13h 45m
$28.97 with 8 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Verte Porcelain Vase

Time Left: 1d 2h 19m
$28.00 with 6 bids


ddAntique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Ceramic Flowers & Birds Bowl Brush Pot

Time Left: 18h 7m
$27.00 with 7 bids


dd19th Century Chinese ginger jar Qing or Republic period 

Time Left: 5d 13h 6m
$27.00 with 2 bids


ddAntique Chinese Porcelain Fish pattern Vase

Time Left: 1d 2h 15m
$26.00 with 5 bids


ddQING DYNASTY CHINESE SANG DE BOEUF OXBLOOD VASE, PIGEON, LANGYAO, ROULEAU

Time Left: 5d 3h
$26.00 with 5 bids


ddPAIR of SMALL VINTAGE ORIENTAL BLACK CLOISONNE DRAGON VASES JAPAN CHINA ANTIQUE

Time Left: 5d 18h 41m
$26.00 with 2 bids


ddVTG Chinese Famille Noire Porcelain Lidded Vase/Jar w/ Flowers & Butterfly

Time Left: 3d 2h 5m
$25.99 with 1 bids


ddLovely Chinese Oriental Antiques Porcelain Famille Rose Tea Set with Mark

Time Left: 1d 13h 47m
$24.83 with 19 bids


ddFine Antique Chinese Canton Famille Rose Hand-painted Vase

Time Left: 1d 15h 5m
$24.83 with 5 bids


ddPair Of Antique Chinese Export Famille Rose Porcelain Ceramic Vase Flower Pots

Time Left: 17h 52m
$24.50 with 9 bids