What initially appeared to be an ordinary cardboard box full of old pots has turned out to be a collection of antique Chinese treasures that sold for £100,000 at an auction. The box was discovered by a 67-year-old man who was clearing out his deceased mother’s house. Instead of donating the boxed-up plates, bowls, and dishes to a charity shop, he decided to get them valued by auctioneers. He expected the items to be worth around £30 to £50, but was surprised to find that some of them could be worth between £4,000 and £6,000. Some of the crockery dated back to the late 16th century Chinese Ming Dynasty and were antiques.
The seller, who wished to remain anonymous, is a retired computer engineer. He expressed his initial belief that the items might fetch a bit of money but not much. However, the auction exceeded his expectations as the prices kept escalating, leaving him and his sister, who watched the auction live from Australia, amazed.
The collection included four dishes which were sold together as a set and achieved a price of £63,000. Among the items sold were an imperial porcelain yellow ground medallion bowl, Daoguang (1821-1850), with a seal mark in blue, which sold for £14,500 from a £1,500-£2,500 guide price. An imperial porcelain famille rose pink ground medallion bowl, Daoguang (1821-1850), fetched £8,800, and two bowls sold to a private UK buyer for £30,290.
The seller’s mother had inherited the items from a former Rolls-Royce engineer whom she used to help to look after many years ago in Etwall. The seller’s mother had no idea the dishes were valuable and had displayed them in her home for 30 to 40 years.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said, “I am absolutely delighted for this Etwall family. It was an unbelievable find and a tremendous result. It’s wonderful to discover items like this on your doorstep. So, what’s in your cardboard box? Bring us your cardboard boxes and let us take a look.”