Chinese vase sold for almost €8m at auction

Chinese vase sold for almost €8m at auction

An ordinary Chinese vase put up for auction in France and valued at €2,000 1,745 has sold for almost €8 m after a fierce bidding war among buyers convinced it was a rare 18th-century artefact.

Auctioneers were amazed at the sale in Fontainebleau near Paris as the offers from about 30 mainly Chinese bidders kept on coming. When the hammer fell, the vase had been sold for almost 4,000 times its estimated value when it was sold for €7.7 m. The final purchase price was €9.12 m, with the seller's fees.

The Tianqiuping-style porcelain was put in the auction by a woman living in a French overseas territory who was left by her late mother. The unnamed seller had not seen the 54 cm-tall vase, but had ordered it taken from her mother's home in Brittany to Paris to be sold by auctioneers Osenat.

She told the auction house expert the vase had originally belonged to her grandmother, a Parisian collector.

Nearly 30 buyers were involved in a bidding war at Fontainebleau.

Jean-Pierre Osenat, of the auctioneers, said it was a crazy story. The seller lives far away and didn't even see the vase. She inherited it from her mother who was a big Paris collector in the last century, Osenat said.

Tianqiuping means a heavenly sphere and denotes the shape of the vase, which was blue and white porcelain covered in enamel and decorated with dragons and clouds. The auction house said it had dated from the 20th century and described it as quite ordinary. Had it been 200 years older, it would have been extremely rare, their expert said.

C dric Laborde, director at Osenat, said there was enormous interest with more and more Chinese people coming to see the vase from the moment the catalogue was published. Our expert still thinks it is not old.

The Chinese are passionate about their history and proud to take possession of their history. He said the buyer was Chinese and he believed the vase would be put on display.