Chinese incense burns light up London sale

The pair of blue and white Chinese incense burners that sold for £25,000A pair of late 18th/early 19th-century Chinese blue and white porcelain incense burners has sold for a staggering £25,000, against a pre-sale estimate of just £300-£500 at a London auction house.

Criterion Auctioneers in Islington, London held their first Asian Art Sale orecently with a private collection of Chinese porcelain. The sale created a lot of interest with buyers as all the Chinese porcelain came from a deceased estate where all the pieces had been acquired during the early part of the 20th century so were fresh to the open market.

The incense burners are decorated with five claw dragons, having bronze lids pierced decorated with bats, bearing six character mark to base. They hammered down at £25,000 after much frenzied bidding from the telephone lines, in the saleroom and on the internet.

Valuer, Tracy Martin, who consigned the collection for sale was thrilled with the result as not being an Oriental Specialist didn’t expect there to be such high prices achieved. Although she was aware that the incense burners looked like they could do well as they stood out from the rest of the collection. She said, “I never expected them to make quite so much though and the atmosphere in the saleroom was electric as the price just kept rising.”

Other pieces in the 48 lot sale which made respectable prices were a Chinese Kangxi period blue and white vase decorated in floral design which sold for £1,100 and a late 17th/early 18th-century Chinese stoneware green glazed seated figure, raised on hardwood stand (with chips to ears and appearing to be missing something from his hands, which sold for a hammer price of £550.

Tracy said, “The Chinese market is still very buoyant with buyers and if they spot something then you just never know how high the price will go – its exciting and injects adrenalin into the saleroom.”

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