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Check Your Attic: A Family Found This Vase Worth $19 Million

It has a historical connection to China's Qianlong Emperor.

chinese vintage vase
Photography by: Thomas Samson / Getty Images

Before you purge your attic for the next yard sale, you may want to take a second to rethink your to-be-tossed pile—it could be worth a fortune! At least that's what happened to one French family's old vase which recently sold at a Paris action for a whopping $19 million dollars.  

 

The relic—an 18th century Chinese porcelain vase—had been hiding in the family's home for years before the owners decide to bring it to Sotheby's Paris, an international auction house. 

 

"This person (the seller) took the train, then the metro and walked on foot through the doors of Sotheby's and into my office with the vase in a shoebox protected by newspaper," Sotheby's Asian arts expert Olivier Valmier told Reuters. "When she put the box on my desk and we opened it, we were all stunned by the beauty of the piece."

 

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Initially, the auctioneers priced the vase between $580,800 and $800,000. After 20 minutes of bidding, the vase sold for over 20 times its estimated price tag giving it the highest value of a single item ever to be sold by the auction house in France.

 

Of course, this vase wasn't just any old bulb-shaped vessel. The piece, described as exceptionally well-preserved, was made for an emperor of the Qing dynasty. Among its intricate painted detailing of birds, woodland creatures, and gold embellishment around the neck, the vase's markings indicate its former life with China's Qianlong Emperor, who held one of the longest reigns in Chinese history from 1736 to 1796. Talk about the ultimate vintage find!

 

Feeling inspired? Watch Martha explore the famous Parisian flea markets​ for hidden treasures: