Wednesday, November 17, 2010
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LONDON— In a tale that goes way beyond the wildest dreams of any Antiques Roadshow aficionado, a brother and sister found a dusty Chinese vase while clearing out their deceased parents' suburban London house and put it up for sale at Bainbridges Auction House — where it fetched $85 million, a world record for any work of Chinese art at auction. The siblings, who have so far remained anonymous, were stunned by the rapidly-ascending bidding, with the sister leaving the room at one point to get some fresh air. Bainbridges, a small West London auction house specializing in estate sales, and whose previous sale record was £100,000 ($185,000) for a Ming bowl, had estimated the Qianlong vase at £800,000-1.2 million ($1.3-1.9 million), the London Telegraph reports. After 30 minutes of frenetic bidding in which six men in the salesroom and three telephone bidders vied for the elaborately-decorated piece, a paddle bidder in the room — said to be a Beijing-based advisor — emerged victorious, declining afterward to comment on his purchase. The hammer price was £43 million, with the commission and VAT bringing the total price to £53 million ($85 million). This sum handily surpasses the previous record for a Chinese artwork, set by a calligraphic work that sold for $64 million at Beijing's Poly International Auction Company last June. Moreover, the vase more than doubled the previous record for Chinese porcelain, set just a month ago by Sotheby's in Hong Kong with the sale of another Qianlong vase for $32.4 million.

Read more at Art Info 
(Image courtesy of Brainbridges)
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