Looks Like the Asian Antiquities Market is Hot Again.

LONDON – An 18th century Chinese porcelain vase discovered when a house was cleared out was sold Thursday at a London auction for 43 million pounds ($69.3 million).

Bainbridges, the auction house, said that the final price for the 16-inch vase — an imperially commissioned piece decorated with a fish motif — far exceeded the pre-auction estimated price, which was about 1.2 million pounds.

The final amount was thought to be among the highest ever paid for any Chinese artwork sold at auction…

Full article here.

I’ll just let the thing speak for itself.  You know I used to dabble in this line of work. So it goes.  At any rate, this vase displays the “classic” famille-rose palette, with a reticulated base and expertly rendered floral detail – as well is should, for $69.3 Million.  I cannot tell from this photo if the fish — carp — are in relief or not.  It should be noted that in East Asia the carp is a symbol of strength and endurance.  Hiroshima’s professional baseball team is the Carp.  The Hiroshima Carp.  Also note:  scurrilous rumors notwithstanding, there’s no evidence the vase in question leaks.

  1. Ha, ha, ha! $69 million for a vase that leaks!!!! 😉

      • letsjapan
      • November 11th, 2010

      Yeh, they should’ve knocked 15 bucks off that.


    • Mark Brafford
    • November 11th, 2010

    The day one of my relatives finds anything like this when they clean out their attic, I will drop over dead.

      • letsjapan
      • November 11th, 2010

      Actually, a Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) ceramic camel was found/snapped-up at a Birmingham yard (garage?) sale and it now sits in the Birmingham Museum of Art (one room away from [1] two reticulated Minton plates I found and bought in Kyoto — one of which features a scene from Otsu, yes, that Otsu; and, [2] a photograph of mine from Kurodani Temple, there in Kyoto). Both the photo and the plates were donations, of course: the photo went up in May, the plates were donated — unbeknownst to me at the time of the donation — by someone I used to know. Yup.

    • Michelle
    • November 11th, 2010

    I love it.

  2. I’m totally raiding my in-laws closet tomorrow morning. 🙂

      • letsjapan
      • November 12th, 2010

      Yeh, I thought that might get such a rise out of you!


  3. When you hear a story like this, you are reminded that serious treasures are around us every day. That is why we have to ask ourselves why it is that everyone does not see them? Maybe it is another case of “He who has eyes to see, let him see…” Finds like this one should not surprise us, in fact, what is more surprising is that we do not hear about this type of thing every day. Maybe it’s time to slow down, stop and smell the roses and open up your mind the the possibilities out there.

    Respectfully, Robert Yates
    President, Asian Antiquities

      • letsjapan
      • January 28th, 2011


      I’m honored to see that you visited this site and commented as you did. I would add that it’s not just about discovering a rare and (shockingly) expensive piece in one’s closet or in the estate of a relative, but, even more, it’s about finding or happening upon that “personal treasure” that may only be appraised at $25 or a few hundred dollars, but “speaks” to you and “means something” to you, to a budding or even long-time collector. I invite you (and anyone) to read a true account of my life in the trade — “Auction” — and the degree to which that little item that touches one’s heart carries more value than the “Antiques Auction Prize Winner.”

      Kind regards,

      R. Newton

  4. Very well written peice with good points through out. Congratulations you have a regular visitor haha

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