PLENTY OF CASH IN THE ATTIC!
National papers and news bulletins recently told of the sale of a 16 inch high Chinese vase for a world record £43million – and it happened right here at Bainbridge’s Auctioneers, by West Ruislip Station. According to Peter Bainbridge, who conducted the sale, this is not only the highest amount ever paid for a ceramic, it is in fact the eleventh highest price ever paid for any piece of art work at all.
“It started with the usual call”, Peter told ICN. “‘A relative has died; can you help us to clear the home?’ We offer a complete home clearance service, not just sale of contents. In this case a few items were brought in to the auction rooms, including the vase”.
Then, as usual, Cataloguer Luan Grocholski got involved. He recognised the vase as ‘something special’ and took it away for further research. “I think this could be very important” was his correct advice. For it was a Qianlong Dynasty, reticulated (pierced), double-walled vase, exquisitely decorated, made in the 18th Century probably for a marriage or birthday, and possibly for the Emperor.
So Bainbridge’s planned their campaign. They deferred the sale of the vase until November, to coincide with Asian Art Week, and they showed it in London to world experts, who were enchanted. At the Auction Room on 11th November, many potential buyers were present for Lot 800 and the actual sale lasted 18 minutes. Peter (who has officiated at Ickenham Festival’s Auction of Promises in the past), is accustomed to auctioning vintage Ferraris for millions, but even he was not expecting bids to reach £43million. “It was a ‘happy’ vase in perfect condition and we had attracted all the right people for the sale”, he said. “It had been correctly recognised, researched, identified and sold. That is what we are here for.”