A vase which was bought for just £1 in a charity shop has sold for £484,000 after it revealed that it was made for an 18th century emperor.
The Qianlong Emperor’s vase made its way to a store in Hertfordshire where it was picked up for £1 and then listed on eBay for a pittance.
The vase sparked a bidding war, with the successful Chinese buyer paying a hammer price of £380,000. Extra fees took the overall figure handed over to £484,800 – six times the auction house’s pre-sale estimate of £80,000.
The shopper was initially unaware of its significance until he was inundated with offers for the elegant yellow vase.
He took it to specialists at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers’ in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, where they told him it was Chinese imperial and made for the Qianlong Emperor, who reigned from 1735 to 1796. It is inscribed with an imperial poem that ‘praises incense’ and two iron-red seal marks that read ‘Qianlong chen han’ or ‘the Qianlong Emperor’s own mark’.
It also reads ‘Weijing weiyi’ which translates to ‘be precise, be undivided’.