Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — After buying them from a thrift store in London for $25, it was found that two jars date back to the Qing Dynasty in the eighteenth century and can be sold for up to £50,000, or about $62,700.
The two urns, of Dokai’s Chinese imperial style ‘Lotus and Chrysanthemum’, will go up for sale at London’s Rosebery Auctions on May 16.
Dokkai style is a technique of painting porcelain.
Bill Forrest, associate director and head of Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian art at Rosebery, told CNN on Thursday that the jars were used in the earlier Ming Dynasty, where the designs were outlined in blue before being overglazed.
He added that Chinese imperial porcelain is “rare”, and its manufacture was commissioned only to the imperial court.
Photography: Roseberys Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
The two urns depicting heads of open chrysanthemums and zigzag lotus leaves in bright red, yellow and green colors are enamelled.
Forrest said the urn seller, who declined to be named, is a “passionate collector” of ceramics.
“I believe that anyone who has been in the presence of imperial china, regardless of their experience, will feel drawn to it,” he said.
The auctioneer realized the significance of the ceramic piece when he researched the inscription “Qianlong” on the base label of one of the jars.
Qianlong was the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, and he ruled for six decades.
“It breaks my heart when I read about Chinese items being sold for a pittance,” Forrest said.
However, he added that Chinese porcelain is a highly specialized field, and those working in charities can be forgiven for their lack of experience. However, Forrest said the seller will donate a “significant portion” of the profits to the charity that owns the thrift store.
A tractor of a similar design has been sold at previous auctions.
A pair, along with their covers, sold at Sozby’s Auctions in London for £277,200, or about $347,000, in November 2021.