A family that unknowingly used a rare Chinese bowl, worth $4.9 million, to store odds and ends like tennis balls are thanking their lucky stars they didn't throw it out. Experts from Swiss auctioneers Koller Auctions were valuing items at the family home when they spotted the bronze bowl, reports CNN. The bowl - a parcel-gilt incense burner with phoenix heads for handles - actually turned out to be a prized artefact believed to be from the late 17th century.
"When they saw the bowl, they were amazed. They'd never seen anything quite like it," Karl Green, head of media relations and marketing for Koller Auctions, told CNN.
The Swiss family that owned it had bought it back from a trip to China. According to Mr Green, they had offered the bowl to a museum in Berlin, who were not interested in displaying it. A British auction house also reportedly declined the item after seeing photographs.
"After all that, the family thought it wasn't worth a lot, but they liked it. They displayed it. As you do with a bowl in your house, they put things in it, and they put tennis balls in it," Mr Green said.
"So the vendors didn't think it was worth much and were using it to store tennis balls in. It is pretty big, about the size of a punch bowl and could hold about a dozen balls," he told Metro.
However, after it was acquired by Koller Auctions and displayed at an auction in Hong Kong, the incense burner created waved. It was finally sold for a whopping 4.8 million Swiss francs - approximately Rs 34 crore!
On Instagram, Koller Auctions wrote that the stunning parcel-gilt incense burner was very likely made for a Chinese empress circa 1700 and purchased by a Chinese collector.
#Record price for a #Chinese #bronze censer @kollerauctions in #Zurich : CHF 4.8 million. Purchased by a Chinese #collector, this stunning parcel-gilt incense burner was very likely made for a Chinese #empress circa 1700. #AsianArt #Auction #NewRecord #News #KollerAuctions #TrustedSince1958 #InternationalAuctionsSwissMade #ChineseCollection
"When you compare to other incense burners or other bronze objects of this size and date, it went far above what anything else has made, worldwide," added Mr Green to CNN.
In a similar incident last year, a Michigan man discovered that the rock he had been using as a doorstop was actually a meteorite worth a fortune.Click for more trending news
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