A large Chinese porcelain wucai fish vase defied all expectations to sell for 450 times its estimate and set a new house record at Birmingham auction house, Fellows, when it smashed its pre-sale estimate of £1,200 to £1,800 to sell for an impessive £810,000.
Intricately decorated with small golden carp, lotus blossoms and undulating grasses the wucai vase’s enamelling and painted decoration presented a beautiful piece.
The vase sparked a fierce bidding war from interested parties on the internet, on the telephone and in the room. It went on to completely surpass all expectations, selling for a hammer price of £810,000, breaking all house records.
Mark Huddleston, Senior Specialist said “We are delighted with the house-record sale of the Chinese wucai vase. This vase was consigned via a Chinese client. Initial research when cataloguing had pointed to a number of historic precedents sold in the tens and hundreds of thousands. We examined the decoration to the collar and felt that it lacked sophistication of these early pieces.”
He continued, “Whilst we dealt with a number of condition enquiries before the sale, little could have prepared us for the result. Bidding began at £1,000 and, with a handful of telephone bidders plus the usual hundreds online, predicting the final price became impossible. The most gratifying aspect is that a number of bidders were actually in the saleroom and had viewed it in person. One bidder even flew in from Japan and has a number of these in his collection.”
The Chinese porcelain wucai fish vase was catalogued as a copy, but was made during the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Chinese Ming dynasty who ruled from 1521 to 1567.