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Construction worker finds £390k Chinese wine ewer during lockdown clear-out

A stunning discovery was made during a lockdown clear-out by a 51-year-old construction worker from Swadlincote, Derbyshire. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, found a tiny Chinese wine ewer in a box stored in his garage. The object, which had been brought back from China by the seller’s grandfather, who was stationed there during World War Two, had been hidden away for decades in a relative’s garage in Church Gresley.

The ewer had an 18th-century design and it was believed to have belonged to an emperor in China. The seller was unaware of its true value and almost took it to a charity shop. However, he decided to have it evaluated by experts and discovered that it was worth more than he could ever have imagined. Valuers at Hansons identified the object as an 18th-century wine ewer that was used in the palace of Emperor Qianlong. The object was just 8.5cm high, but its rarity and historical significance were apparent.

The auction of the ewer was nothing short of a spectacle. Eight phone bidders from around the world, including China, battled for the object, driving the price up to an incredible £390,000. The seller watched the auction live at home with his brother and family, enjoying a few cans of Guinness along the way. He was thrilled with the outcome and said that it would change things for him and his family. He was even considering using some of the money to buy a metal detector.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson was delighted with the sale and described it as one of the most important objects he had ever had the privilege of selling. He added that the ewer was a “once-in-a-lifetime find” and one of the best lockdown discoveries ever made.

Interestingly, there were two other “almost identical” objects in existence, both of which were housed in museums in Taiwan and China. It is remarkable that the ewer was able to stay hidden for so long before being discovered by the seller during lockdown.

The discovery of hidden treasures during lockdown has become a common occurrence. With more people spending time at home, many have taken the opportunity to go through their belongings and unearth items that they may not have even known existed. It just goes to show that sometimes the most valuable things can be found right under our noses.