A family are thanking their lucky stars they didn’t throw out a gold bowl what was once classed as a cheap knock-off after finding out it’s actually a prized artefact worth a whopping £4.8 million Swiss francs (AU$5.8M).
It was one of those unique goodies purchased while on holiday in China that eventually became home to the family’s tennis ball collection, until earlier this year when it was discovered by Swiss auctioneers Koller Auctions, CNN reports.
The experts were perusing the family’s home for any potential collectors’ items when they came across the bowl, a parcel-gilt bronze incense burner with phoenix heads for handles.
The family, originally from Germany, had previously had it valued but were told it was essentially a piece of rubbish that wasn’t worth anything. A museum in Berlin had even refused to take it, claiming they had no interest in the bowl.
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#Record price for a #Chinese #bronze censer @kollerauctions in #Zurich : CHF 4.8 million. Purchased by a Chinese #collector, this stunning parcel-gilt incense burner was very likely made for a Chinese #empress circa 1700. #AsianArt #Auction #NewRecord #News #KollerAuctions #TrustedSince1958 #InternationalAuctionsSwissMade #ChineseCollection
But according to Karl Green, head of media relations and marketing for Koller Auctions, experts knew straight away it was something special which they needed to investigate further. It is now believed the bowl is from the late 17th century and was most likely made for Chinese emperors.
“(Koller Auctions’ experts) think because of the peonies and the phoenix decoration and because of the quality, it was probably made for Chinese emperors,” Green explained to the news outlet.
The bowl garnered a lot of attention at the auction in Hong Kong with around 30 bidders reportedly vying to take home the prized possession. In the end it was sold for the impressive AU$5.8 million.
Speaking to UK publication Metro about the find, Green claimed the family were “thrilled” with the sale and shocked by how much it was actually worth.
“They found it hard to believe,” he explained. “I would think that amount of money is like changing for anybody.”
Green added: “I’m not sure if they had a tennis court at home but I think they could afford to put one in now.”