Ming Dynasty vase used as doorstop sells at auction for $1.3M

Jordan Chittley
Daily BuzzSeptember 15, 2012

The New York family owned it for decades, then they saw a similar piece in an ad

They say one man's junk is another man's treasure and that couldn't be more true about a rare Ming Dynasty vase that just sold at a U.S. auction.

It was being used by an unidentified family in Long Island as a doorstop. Don't they know holding doors open is what old computers are for? The vase, which sat on a wooden stand, had belonged to the family for decades, until someone noticed a similar piece in a Sotheby's ad. The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1364 until 1644 so the vase is at least 368 years old.

The auction house initially estimated it would sell for between $600,000 and $900,000, but it went for more than a million. The vase sold as part of the Sotheby's sale of Chinese works of art this past week.

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In addition to the blue and white vase, other highlights of the auction included a jade imperial seal from the Qing dynasty (about 1790), which sold for $3.5 million and an archaic bronze wine vessel from the 7-8th century B.C., which sold for $1.5 million. All of the lots combined sold for $27 million.

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"We saw exceptional demand across the sale which drove the total to such heights," said Dr. Tao Wan, who was recently appointed head of the Chinese Works of Art Department at Sotheby's New York, in a BBC article. "Collectors from around the world were drawn to high-quality pieces with distinguished provenance, particularity that of museums."

The vase's $1.3 million price is far from the record-setting price of $21.6 million a Ming cobalt blue Meiping vase sold at an auction last October.

With files from The Canadian Press

(CP photo)