Antique Enthusiast Bought $35 Bowl in a Yard Sale Turns to be a $500,000 Worth Artifact, Says Report

A buyer, who has not been named, had reportedly brought a small porcelain bowl at a Connecticut yard sale last year for the price of $35. The buyer who was an antique enthusiast thought that the white bowl with cobalt blue flowers paintings could be something special, thus the buyer emailed Sotheby’s, an auction house, asking for an evaluation.

“The style of painting, the shape of the bowl, even just the color of the blue is quite characteristic of that early, early 15th century period of porcelain,” said Angela McAteer, Sotheby’s senior vice president and head of its Chinese Works of Art Department, as reported by The Associated Press (AP), an independent global news organization.

When the bowl had been looked at in person, Angela McAteer and Hang Yin, the auction house’s experts on Chinese ceramics and art, confirmed that it was from the 1400s during the reign of the Yongle emperor, the third ruler of the Ming Dynasty.

The Chinese artifact is worth between $300,000 and $500,000 and it will be up for auction in New York on March 17, 2021 as part of Sotheby’s “Important Chinese Art” auction. At Sotheby’s website, the bowl was described as “An exceptional and rare blue and white ‘floral’ bowl, Ming dynasty, Yongle period”.

Screenshot Source: Sotheby’s

Screenshot Source: Sotheby’s

It was not confirmed how the bowl ended up at a Connecticut yard sale, but according to AP, McAteer explained that it might have been passed down through generations of the same family who did not know how unique the bowl was.

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Source: The Associated Press, Sotheby’s| Important Chinese Art Lot 130, Sotheby’s| Asia Week | Spring 2021, The Washington Post

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