A rare Chinese vase that was bought in a charity shop in Leigh-on-Sea for just £8.50 could sell for thousands in an upcoming sale in Suffolk.Cafe worker Mary Lawler, 23, bought the vase as a decoration for a newly-decorated downstairs bathroom in the family home, but decided to get it valued at one of Lockdales Auctioneers’ regular valuation roadshows to see if it was worth anything.Valuers at the auction house said that the item was similar to another Ming Dynasty ‘double green’ vase which was bought for £7.99 in a charity shop and then appeared on an episode of BBC Antiques Roadshow last year where expert Lars Tharp valued it at between £5,000-£10,000.Chris Elmy from Lockdales explained how Mary brought the item along. “It turns out to be very similar to the one featured on the BBC – though not the exact same one. This makes us wonder if they were once a pair, which somehow ended up in the charity shop system, having been cleared from a house without the original owners realising what they had.”The vase will have an estimate of £3,000-£4,000 in the auction house’s upcoming two-day Fine Sale on July 12 and 13.Elsewhere in the sale, another unusual group of ceramics is a prototype tea set called ‘walking ware’ by the designers Michelle Roger and Danke Napiorkowska. The characterful set comprises a teapot, sugar bowl and two cups. The pieces were all handmade by the artists before the items went into production with their company Lustre Pottery, Malton. The design was later sold to Carltonware and went into mass production in the 1980s.The tea set carries an estimate of £400-£450.
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