400-year-old Chinese vase found in ‘modest’ Nottinghamshire home attracts high price at auction

A vase discovered in a Nottinghamshire home that was set to be cleared out has gone on to sell for thousands of pounds at auction. The blue and white patterned vase was just one of the items that had been offered for £1000 total.

The vase was later dated at 1600 – making it over 400 years old before reaching £15,000 at auction. Its bulbous body is vividly painted with a group of officials conversing while its neck boasts stylised tulips. It has been bought by a Chinese collector and is now on its way to its new home.

Charles Hanson, the owner of Hansons Auctioneers came across the beautiful vase while making a routine visit to a house in Mansfield. His instinct told him it could be special although he was originally unsure of its value as it was an unusual place to find it.

Read more: Rare artefact dug up by Nottinghamshire schoolboy reaches £4000 at auction

The blue and white Chinese vase that sold for £15,000
Thebue and white Chinese vase that sold for £15,000.

He said: “I spotted the vase in an ordinary two-up, two-down. It was filled with a few dried flowers in a bedroom. I picked it up and asked the seller if he knew anything about it. He mentioned that it had been given to his father when he was working as a chauffeur in the 1950s.

“That prompted me to look closer. Working in the antique world can feel a little like being a detective at times as you have to question, probe and hunt for clues to discover treasure in unexpected places.”

“The blue and white vase was embellished in typical Chinese style but it seemed incongruous. Why would a valuable piece of Chinese ceramics be tucked away in a modest house in Nottinghamshire?

“The property was due to be cleared and an offer of £1,000 had been made for the contents – but I arranged for the vase to be auctioned. However, when the auction catalogue went live online extraordinary bids started to come in for the humble vase. I withdrew it from sale to give myself time to consult Chinese ceramics experts and, importantly, ensure we achieved the best price possible for our client.”

The item was identified as a Chinese blue and white bottle vase that was offered at the Hansons’ April 1 Derbyshire Fine Art Auction with a guide price of £2,000-£3,000. It has sold for £15,000 to a client in China.

“I was delighted and our client was astonished. I was reminded yet again that antique treasures turn up in unexpected places. Inherited pieces of staggering value sit on top of cupboards or languish in glass cabinets for decades,” said Charles.