A Moncton auction house has sold a Paragon teacup and saucer for the staggering price of $2,400.
That's a record for Key Auctions.
Auction house owner Jared Steeves said he knew the teacup was special — and worth a pretty penny — when he saw its heavy gold coating and large cabbage rose design while unpacking boxes from an estate pickup.
"It was an exciting and unknown find at a local house in Moncton," Steeves told CBC's Shift.
"It was unbeknownst to us that it was even in the estate. There had been a handful of boxes that were also to go that had been pre-packed long ago that were sitting in the basement."
Last year, Steeves sold an Aynsley teacup for $400. That was a record for Key Auctions until the $2,400 cup.
"It seems the teacup craze has continued on," he said.
Steeves said most Paragon teacups will sell for between $5 and $20, but the cabbage rose and heavy gold trim can be a sign of significant worth. But he never expected a sale price that high.
He had the teacup and saucer listed for all of last week and saw bids up to $675, before it went live online last Sunday at 8 p.m.
Steeves said his hope was to sell the teacup for $1,000.
After a nine-minute bidding war, the gold teacup topped out at $2,400.
"We just sat and watched it climb," he said.
Steeves said there were three bidders from Ontario and a local bidder in Moncton. The local bidder was successful.
Paragon China produced English bone china. It began as a small business in the early 1900s and was later bought by Royal Doulton.
The Paragon name was discontinued in the 1990s.
Bill Kime, the head of decorative arts at Waddington's auction house in Toronto, said teacups and saucers have become a collecting trend over the last few years.
Colourful teacups with cabbage rose designs made by Paragon and Aynsley are specifically what people are after.
He said they are vintage, likely made in the 1940s or 1950s, but aren't considered an antique.
Kime said he has sold similar teacups and saucers at around the $2,500 mark.
"It's an insane amount of money and yes, I've seen it before," said Kime.
"For some reason or another, those cups and saucers have taken on great importance to collectors."
He said there isn't anything particular about these teacups that is especially valuable.
The amount of gold on the china may be worth a dollar or two and, even if the teacup is hand-painted, Kime said, the cabbage rose was likely transfer-printed and then traced with paint.