I experienced a wave of déjà vu when a splendid blue and white antique Chinese dish arrived at our saleroom.
That’s because it’s remarkably similar to one found in a South Derbyshire kitchen cupboard last year - which sold for an astronomical £230,000.
Demand for Chinese and Oriental treasures has been high for some time, hence the excitement over that particular reverse-decorated dish – especially after it emerged there was a replica in the National Museum of China.
When the news broke, we welcomed wealthy potential Chinese buyers to our Etwall saleroom who had jetted into the UK specially to see it.
They came out in force to buy back a piece of their country’s history. On the day of the auction, 19 phone lines were booked by bidders – a new record for Hansons. In fact, we had to buy some extra phones to accommodate the demand!
I remember witnessing the look of astonishment on the faces of the Derbyshire family as they watched the bids soar higher and higher. I often talk about the passion and drama of auctions and that one had it all.
The owners had inherited the dish but were unaware of its huge value. I was so delighted for them. Sometimes auctions deliver results that can be life-changing.
Their plate carried the reign mark for Emperor Yongzheng and dated back to 1723-1735 - and so does the one that has just emerged.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I examined it. This time the object, which is nearly 300 years old, was found in the south of the country. It has a slight chip but still has an estimate of £70,000 to £100,000.
So, if you have anything rather special gathering dust at home do get it checked out. And there’s no better time because on Monday, September 3 Oriental art expert Lars Tharp will be with us at Hansons in Etwall to do free valuations from 10am-4pm.
I very much hope the people of Derbyshire can uncover some finds to impress Lars, a familiar face on popular TV antiques shows.
He is an absolute expert in his field and it’s wonderful to have him with us as a guest consultant. The Danish-born British historian, lecturer and broadcaster specialises in Chinese ceramics and works of art.
The Chinese market is booming as the country’s growing numbers of wealthy collectors flock to repatriate
Some Chinese buyers tell me they feel their past has been looted from them. By buying back their most celebrated porcelains and works of art, pieces often intended for an emperor, they acquire great kudos.
Lars Tharp will be at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, on September 3, 10am-4pm. Free valuations by appointment only. To book, call 01283 733988 or email [email protected]. Entries invited for our Autumn Fine Art Auction until September 7. Hansons offers free jewellery valuations every Tuesday, 9.30am-4.30pm, and free general antiques valuations on Wednesdays, 5-7pm, Fridays, 10am-4pm, and Saturdays, 9am-noon.