Chinese vase valued at $2,000 sells for another $9 million in France

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A Chinese vase that was expected to fetch between €1,500 to €2,000 (about $1,470 to $1,960) at auction has sold for more than €9 million ($8.8 million) after a bidding war between collectors .

The blue and white Tianqiuping vase went up for auction at the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau, near Paris, on Saturday and fetched a final price of €9,121 million, including fees, according to the company’s website.

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The vase has a spherical body and a long cylindrical neck. It measures 54.3 x 40.6 centimeters and is decorated with dragons and clouds, according to the listing. Tianqiuping vases are also known as “celestial sphere” vases because of their shape.

Jean-Pierre Osenat, president of the auction house, told CNN on Tuesday (4) the owner of the vase, who lives abroad, asked the auctioneer to sell it as part of a shipment of items taken from his late grandmother’s home in Brittany, northwest France.

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“It will completely change their lives,” Osenat said. “It’s hard for them to believe.”

The grandmother was an art collector and had owned the vase for 30 years, he said, adding that there were early signs of keen interest in the vase when dozens of people came to examine it during a pre-auction exhibit.

About 300 to 400 people have expressed interest in bidding, Osenat said, ultimately limiting the number of bidders to 30, all of whom had to pay a deposit to participate.

There were 15 bidders by phone and 15 present at the auction house, with 10 still bidding when the price crossed the €5m mark, Osenat said.

“It’s amazing,” he said, adding that his previous highest selling price was in 2007, when a sword used by Napoleon at the Battle of Marengo in 1800 sold for $6.4 million.

Osenat explained that while an appraisal expert said the vase dated to the 20th century and therefore not rare, collectors believed it was a very rare example of an 18th century Tianqiuping vase.

“I have faith in the hammer, that is, I think the law of supply and demand determines the market price,” he said. “The vision of an expert cannot surpass that of 300 people.”

Sometimes at auctions, you may see two or three people who mistakenly believe an item is much more valuable than an expert said, but not 300, Osenat said.

“I think the market spoke,” he said, adding that he now believes the vase dates to the 18th century.

The as-yet-unidentified buyer is Chinese, said Osenat, who added that in recent years Chinese buyers have shown increasing interest in buying historical artifacts that they believe were stolen from their country in the past.

Osenat said he believed the vase would be displayed in a museum, but he couldn’t be sure at this point.

Source: CNN Brasil

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