Many people assumed the record-setting Qianlong vase bought at a suburban auction in London was a bizarre aberration on the auction market. But today at Sotheby’s another work with Qianlong marks–this time estimated at a humble $800-1200, sold for $18 million.
Sotheby’s press office describes the sale:
There were seven bidders both in the room and on the telephone, the bidding moved up rapidly and in large increments. The winning bidder was on the telephone and is anonymous.
The vase was catalogued as ‘Probably Republican,’ ie 20th Century, and the estimate reflected this dating. However, there was a healthy debate around the age of the piece and clearly some collectors felt that it was significantly earlier.