Family’s shock as antique Chinese bowl they kept tennis balls in sells for $5.8M

The owners had been told previously it wasn't worth anything. Source: Instagram/ Koller Auctions

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).

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.

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.

“When you compare to other incense burners or other bronze objects of this size and date, it went far above what anything else has made, worldwide.”

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.

“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.”

Have you ever discovered something valuable like the bowl? What would you do with the millions of dollars?

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