Two Chinese cinnabar lacquer antiques, which had been stored away in a Shropshire property for years, sold for £18,000 at an Asian Art auction in Shrewsbury yesterday.
The owner had no idea the antiques were so valuable and Jeremy Lamond, director of Shrewsbury-based fine art auctioneers Halls, says the discovery underlines how important it is to get Asian items assessed and valued by experts.
Star of the auction was a cinnabar lacquer ingot form box and cover on a carved hardwood stand, which dated to the early Qing Dynasty and tripled its pre-sale estimate to sell for £15,000 to a Chinese online bidder. Its companion, an intricately carved, circular lacquer tray and hard wood stand, from the Qianlong Period, sold for £3,000.
Mr Lamond said: “Both these Chinese antiques were discovered in a house in the Oswestry area and our valuation came as a complete surprise to the owner. They had been in the family for generations but were stored away and not being used or displayed.
“This discovery demonstrates that there are Asian art treasures waiting to be identified in Shropshire and surrounding counties. Our advice to householders is if they don’t know what an item is, please bring in it for a free valuation or one of our specialists will be happy to make a home visit.”
Mr Lamond said the decision to time the auction to coincide with Asian Art Week in London provided dividends, as many Chinese buyers were among the international bidders.
Other top selling lots were a 19th century album of Chinese pith paper paintings at £2,600, a Japanese bronze marine life platter from the Meiji period at £2,400 and a jade bead necklace at £2,100.
The furniture section featured a large 19th century Chinese rosewood altar table at £2,100 and a mid-20th century Chinese rosewood two pedestal desk at £2,000.
Top selling Japanese lots included ivory okimonos of a woodsman and of ‘The Disappointed Ratcatcher’ at £640 and £440 respectively and a bronze Shakudo vase from the Meiji period at £640.