I always enjoy watching “Antiques Roadshow.” Whenever it’s on, I imagine what it would be like to be one of the lucky souls who realizes they’re sitting on an undiscovered treasure!
Because it’s remarkable how much old paintings, jewelry or pottery can be worth. Just ask this French couple, whose lives were changed when they found an old vase in their attic earlier this year.
It was, according to Sotheby’s, an incredibly rare find. The French couple were going through their attic when they saw a shabby old shoebox.
In the shoebox was a strange vase, which was left to the grandparents of the owners by an uncle. The man died in 1947, and the vase was among the belongings found in his Paris apartment — along with other Chinese porcelain, two dragon robes, a yellow silk textile and
an unusual bronze mirror.
But this old vase, which was in the hands of the French couple, wasn’t just your average antique tucked away in the attic.
When the couple made the find, they immediately went to Sotheby’s in Paris to get the vase appraised.
There it was revealed that the antique vase was from the 18th century. And not only that, it was from China’s Qing Dynasty and was one of a kind.
“We didn’t just find a vase in the attic. It’s as if we found a Michelangelo or a Rembrandt. It’s something extremely rare, made for the emperor of China,” Sotheby’s expert Olivier Valmier told NBC News.
The experts at Sotheby’s valued the rare vase somewhere between $600,000–$800,000.
But the auction house, like the couple, would get a shock when the vase was sold.
It ended up selling for approximately $19 million, making it the most expensive individual item ever sold at Sotheby’s in Paris — and also the most expensive piece of Chinese porcelain ever sold in Paris.
#AuctionUpdate A 16,2 millions €, le vase Qianlong devient le record absolu pour une œuvre vendue chez Sotheby’s Paris et le record pour une porcelaine chinoise vendue en France #SothebysAsianArts pic.twitter.com/iSm16Z1yFq
— Sotheby's France (@SothebysFr) June 12, 2018
Funnily, the couple weren’t even particularly fond of the vase.
“We didn’t like the vase too much, and my grandparents didn’t like it either,” one of them told AFP.
Henry Howard-Snyed of Sotheby’s says we should expect to see similar finds in the future.
“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!” he writes in a press release from Sotheby’s.
You heard the expert, now it’s time to sort through the piles of stuff in our attics and basements and hope for the best!
Please share this article so your friends can also hear this fascinating story and start looking for treasures among their clutter!