A Chinese vase expected to go for less than $2,000 at a French auction on Saturday instead fetched a record-breaking $8.8 million.
Originally thought to be worth $1,470 to $1,960, the vase shot up in value after bidders decided the experts were wrong about the item’s age.
Experts said the Tianqiuping vase dated only as far back as the 20th century, but bidders felt the vase more likely dated back to the 18th century — making make the item much more historically valuable.
“If the bidders fought it out to this amount, there’s a reason. For them, the vase is old,” Cedric Laborde, director of the Osenat auction house that sold the vase, told Observer, a news and culture website formerly known as the New York Observer.
There was so much demand that the auction house had to limit the number of bids to 30, as well as require a $9,890 deposit so as to blunt the surge in interest.
A Chinese buyer submitted the winning bid.
“I think the law of supply and demand determines the market price. The view of an expert can’t outweigh that of 300 people,” Jean-Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, told CNN.
Mr. Osenat now concurs with the prospective buyers, most of them Chinese, that the vase is of 18th-century provenance.
“That was such an obviously great object. I guess they must have thought it was a copy … the knowledge is incredible in China, they can spot something even from a photograph,” Mark Newstead, an Asian ceramics and artwork consultant at British auction house Dreweatts, told Observer.
The Tianqiuping vase broke the Osenat auction house’s previous sales record, which came when a saber used by Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Marengo in 1800 sold for $6.4 million in 2007.