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Chinese vase left in storage for almost 40 years sells for £550,000 at auction

The Qing famille rose vase was passed down through a family after being given as payment for a job nearly 40 years ago in the 1980s. It was sold by Hannam’s Auctioneers

A rare Chinese vase has sold for £550,000 at auction – a whopping 36 times the £15,000 it had been expected to fetch.

The Qing famille rose vase had been given as payment for a job nearly 40 years ago in the 1980s.

The owner’s late father, who ran a demolition company in south London, had kept it in his two-bed home until he passed away.

It was then passed on to its son who has stored it away for the past 15 years – until now when it went under the hammer.

The 70-year-old seller was said to be very emotional after being told the staggering amount it had sold for following a bidding war.

The auction had seven phone bidders competing for the vase, which set a new house record of a hammer price of £520,000.

With fees added on, the anonymous Chinese buyer paid £550,000 for it.

The seller said he was relieved to not have any financial worries through his retirement.

The twin-handled falancai ruby glazed vase is 12 inches long and has the mark of the Qianlong Emperor on it, which would date it to between 1735 to 1796.

Hannam’s Auctioneers said it was possibly looted from the Imperial Palace in China during the Boxer rebellion in 1899 to 1901.

The vase was in good condition with some minor flaking to the enamelling.

Harry Hannam, from the auction house, said the same family had previously sold a two-inch jade Buddha for £5,500.

He added that the family had “no idea” how much the Qing vase would be worth and was ecstatic by the sale.

Mr Hannam added: “The vase was given in lieu of a bad debt to the vendor’s father who ran a demolition company in the 1980s.

“He took this vase along with a two-inch jade Buddha as payment, presumably to a client who couldn’t pay their bill.

“The family were from a very moderate upbringing and were working class. They had a two-bed semi-detached home near Bromley.

“The man’s wife inherited them upon his death and when she died in the early 2000s they went to their son.

“Since his mother died I believe the vase has been stored away and has not been on display anywhere.

“What’s lovely is that he will never have to worry again during his retirement.”

In more auction news, a slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding cake recently sold for £1,850 after going under the hammer.

And these forgotten Pokemon cards that were kept under the stairs for years sold for £19,000 at auction.