12 Nov 2010

Forgotten vase fetches $89 million at auction

8:57 pm on 12 November 2010

A vase found in a house-clearance in London has been sold for $NZ89 million, thought to be a record for any Chinese artwork.

The 18th Century Qianlong porcelain piece had been estimated to fetch up to $2.5m for the brother and sister who inherited it.

"The sister had to go out of the room and have a breath of fresh air," said Helen Porter from Bainbridges auction house in Ruislip, north-west London.

The vase is yellow and sky blue in colour with a fish motif on the front. The buyer is thought to have come from China.

The family who inherited the piece "had no idea what they had", Ms Porter said.

"They were hopeful but they didn't dare believe until the hammer went down."

It is thought the vase left China in about 1860, and belonged to one family for about 70 years.