Chinese vase valued at less than $1.2k sold for $6.95m

GENEVA • A Chinese vase valued at between 500 and 800 Swiss francs (S$1,120) has sold for a record five million Swiss francs (S$6.95 million), a Geneva auction house said.

According to the catalogue, the vase, which is 60cm tall and depicts three blue dragons on a yellow background, is from the 20th century but it bears an unverified mark from the 18th century Qianlong era.

There was a bidding battle at the auction on Thursday by two people who believed the vase was in fact from the 18th century.

The auctioneer at the Geneve-Encheres auction house said the age of the vase was difficult to evaluate accurately and that the firm tended to be conservative in its estimates.

The vase, said to be from the 20th century, bears an unverified 18th century Qianlong era mark.
The vase, said to be from the 20th century, bears an unverified 18th century Qianlong era mark. PHOTO: GENEVE-ENCHERES AUCTION HOUSE

The vase, said to be from the 20th century, bears an unverified 18th century Qianlong era mark.
The vase, said to be from the 20th century, bears an unverified 18th century Qianlong era mark. PHOTO: GENEVE-ENCHERES AUCTION HOUSE

"This is the hammer price so with the commission added it is a total of 6.08 million Swiss francs," said auctioneer Olivier Fichot.

The final price was 10,000 times more than the catalogue estimate.

The buyer, an amateur from Asia, was in the room for the auction, while his competitor bid by telephone.

Mr Fichot said it was the highest bid ever made in Geneva outside of jewellery and watches.

The auction house's previous record was a bronze Buddha statue that sold for 550,000 Swiss francs.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2017, with the headline 'Chinese vase valued at less than $1.2k sold for $6.95m'. Print Edition | Subscribe