Chinese Vase Valued at $500 Sells at Online Auction for $812,000

The owners of the cloissoné piece, which had a missing lid and some wear and tear, did not believe it was worth much.

chinese cloisonne vase auction
The Chinese cloissoné vase that sold for more than 2000 times its auction estimate. Photo courtesy iGavel Auctions.

A Chinese cloisonné vase, originally valued at a bargain price of $400 to $600, sold for 2,000 times its estimate last week, realizing $812,500 in an online auction.

Consigned by a family in Washington, D.C. to Quinn’s Auctions, the Virginia auction house listed it on iGavelAuctions.com, an platform that allows local auction houses to reach a larger market online.

The sellers didn’t have much faith in the item, but despite a missing lid and some wear and tear, some vigilant bidders saw value in the piece.

“Objects are sometimes cataloged quickly and esoteric objects can be overlooked,” said Lark Mason, founder of iGavel Auctions, in a press release.

chinese cloisonne vase auction

Two Chinese square form vases that exceeded their auction estimate. Photo courtesy iGavel Auctions.

“But these finds rarely go unnoticed on the iGavel Auctions platform and results like this…that might have eluded even the most knowledgeable experts, was seen and bid upon by enough bidders to realize a strong price usually associated only with the major international art auction houses,” he continued.

Decorated with the eight Buddhist emblems and a lotus flower motif in colorful enamel and copper, the ten-inch-tall vase is thought to have been made in the 18th or 19th century.

It was sold as part of the Asian, Ancient & Ethnographic Works of Art Auction, which began on March 30 and ended on April 20.

Other works in the online sale also majorly exceeded their estimates, like a Bronze Censer from Qing Dynasty China, which was estimated to go for a number between $5,000 and $8,000, but sold for $32,500; or a pair of Chinese square-form vases with a $1,000 to $1,500 estimate, that went for $38,750.


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