Chinese bowl

Chipped Chinese bowl sold for £1.6m at auction


A small Chinese bowl, bought for just £65, has sold for a whopping £1.6 million at auction, according to The Telegraph.

The bowl, with a 10-inch diameter, was a 15th century Ming dynasty piece of porcelain and, as such, is a rare find.

It was bought by collectors Otto and Gertrude Harriman after World War II for £65 – around £1,600 in today’s money.

The late couple’s family recently decided to sell it at auction, estimating it to be worth £20,000.

But they were shocked to find their blue and white bowl sold for 84 times that amount at £1.68 million.

According to experts, the Chinese bowl would have sold for even more if it hadn’t been chipped on the rim.

The bowl was sold by Bainbridge’s auction house in Middlesex, UK – the same place that famously sold a Chinese vase for £59 million back in 2010.

As well as the bowl, a four-inch diameter saucer estimated at £600 sold for £75,000 at the auction.

The saucer dated back to the Song dynasty between 960 to 1279.

A second bowl, also from the Ming dynasty, sold for £850,000, with an estimated price of £60,000.

But the star lot of the auction was the blue and white bowl sold for £1.6 million, which would have been used in dice games originally.

It is dated from the Xuande Emperor of the Ming dynasty, who ruled between 1425 and 1435.

The bowl is decorated with five-claw dragons and cloud scrolls and was one of 30 lots sold at the auction, which raked in over £3 million in total.

Peter Bainbridge, who runs the saleroom, said the bowl was as rare as “hen’s teeth”.

He said: “This bowl was part of a collection that was put together by Otto and Gertrude Harriman.

“It was a dice bowl used for games, but you wouldn’t have shaken it, you would have just rolled the dice in.

“It had a dragon relief on it and is exceptionally rare, and would have been more valuable had there not been some damage.

“It came from an intimate collection that was passed down from the Harrimans and has been on display in Nottingham.

“It was a collection of national importance and when the side of the family that had it died recently it was time to sell.

“The Harrimans bought the bowl from Bluett’s in 1948 for £65 and Bluetts had bought it from a General Haughton in 1948 for 25 pounds.

“It has now gone back to China, and it just shows that the market is still very good for the right pieces.”

Lana Galea View Comments

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