A rare Chinese bowl bought for about US$3 from a yard sale in the US sold for $2.2 million at an auction in New York on March 19.
The Ding bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty was bought for US$3 in 2007.
The bowl “was bought for a few dollars from a tag sale near the consignor’s home in the summer of 2007,” said Cecilia Leung of Sotheby’s. “At the time, the purchaser had no idea that they had happened upon a 1,000-year-old treasure.”
The previous owner displayed the bowl in their living room for several years before they became curious about its origins and had it assessed. Sotheby’s pre-sale estimates valued the bowl, which measures just 12.7cm in diameter, at between US$200,000 to US$300,000.
The bowl sparked a sales battle before being snapped up by London dealer Guiseppe Eskenazi.
The only other known bowl of the same size, form and almost identical decoration has been in the collection of the British Museum in London for over 60 years, according to Sotheby’s.