An auction house has placed a revised £150,000 guide price on a teapot-like Chinese jug found during a lockdown sort-out.
Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers had placed an estimate of between £20,000 and £40,000 on the “tiny” 15cm Qianlong period wine ewer.
The 18th century item, which goes under the hammer on Thursday, was brought into Hansons’ Etwall office after spending almost a decade boxed up in a garage and a loft in Derbyshire.
Auction house owner Charles Hanson described the piece, which has attracted interest from wealthy Chinese buyers, as “treasure of the highest regard”.
Might it make half a million? Might it fall just short? That's the joy of being an auctioneerCharles Hanson, Hansons Auctioneers
The jug’s 51-year-old owner, a semi-retired manual worker from Swadlincote, near Burton-on-Trent, has asked to remain anonymous, but has said it was brought back from the Far East by his grandfather during World War Two.
Mr Hanson told the PA news agency: “It’s a giant of a find.
“In context, there are only two others really known – one in a museum in Beijing and one in a museum in Taipei in Taiwan.
“It almost went to a charity shop. It was brought in to ourselves, we didn’t realise how important it was until we delved into the context.”
As well as confirming that the ewer’s guide price had been increased to £100-£150,000, Mr Hanson said he believed the jug was originally part of a set of four.
Asked how much he expected the item to raise, the auctioneer added: “We think it’s going to go on and on.
“Hopefully I won’t be saying ‘going, going gone’ for a while.
“I’ve had a few sleepless nights because this is an object of such cultural and heritage importance to China. And of course there is a great desire amongst billionaires to repatriate their treasure.
“Who knows? Might it make half a million? Might it fall just short? That’s the joy of being an auctioneer.”