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Chinese vase found in shoebox sells for $19 million

An 18th century Chinese vase originate in a shoebox in an attic in France sold for 16.2 million euros ($19 million) at auction in Paris on Tuesday.

The bounty was more than 20 times the estimate of 500,000 euros to 700,000 euros auctioneers Sotheby’s had put on the memorandum. It was the highest price reached for a single item sold by Sotheby’s in France.

The vase done for some of its life stashed in an attic with other items that formed piece of an inheritance. A French family retrieved the vase and brought it to the auctioneer.

“This person (the seller) took the court, then the metro and walked on foot through the doors of Sotheby’s and into my workplace with the vase in a shoebox protected by newspaper,” Sotheby’s Asian arts superior Olivier Valmier told Reuters.

“When she put the box on my desk and we opened it we were all stunned by the looker of the piece.”

The 30 cm, bulb-shaped vase, painted in delicate shades of inexperienced, blue, yellow and purple, was described as an exceptionally well-preserved porcelain receptacle made for an emperor of the Qing dynasty.

It depicts deer, birds and other animals in a wood, and lists gold embroidery around the neck. The vase bears a mark of the Qianlong Emperor who prevailed China from 1736 to 1796.A Sotheby’s spokeswoman said: “They distinguished it had some value but nothing like that, nor that it was from the Qian heritage.”

The auction lasted some 20 minutes, a long time by worn out standards for such sales, with multiple bidders battling for the first-rate.

The buyer was Asian but the firm did not wish to reveal the name or nationality.

The 16.2 million euros ($19.11 million) purchase price included 2 million euros in auction costs and commissions.

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