Rare Chinese Bowl Found At Garage Sale Sells For $2.25 Million At Auction


It’s every garage-saler’s dream come true. You buy some old piece of pottery for three bucks, just because it looks cool and it’s cheap. You sit it on a shelf in your house for a couple years, then miraculously find out it’s worth a lot more than you paid for it—like a couple million more! The fantasy is exactly why people show up with their crazy junk to “Antiques Road Show” events 16 years after the series  first aired, and why series like “American Pickers” and “Storage Wars” have become so popular as of late.

But the dream became reality for one New York family who bought an antique bowl at a yard sale back in 2007. Fortunately it never broke, because almost six years later the small, ivory-colored bowl turned out to be a 1,000-year-old “Ding” specimen from China’s Northern Song Dynasty. And it might have sat on that shelf for years, but the owner got curious about its origins (maybe after watching “Roadshow?”) and decided to get an appraisal.


The pre-sale estimate for the five-inch bowl came in between $200,000 and $300,000, but like they tell you on “Roadshow,” things can always change in an auction scenario, and that’s exactly what happened here. The bowl was put up for bid at Sotheby’s in New York, a bidding war ensued, and a London dealer, Guiseppe  Eskenazi, bought it for an unbelievable $2.225 million. Apparently, there is only one other piece in the world like it, a Ding bowl that has been housed at the British Museum in London since it was donated by a collector back in 1947.

Once this news gets out, it’s sure to fuel the fire of springtime garage-salers, out at dawn picking through someone else’s junk hoping they’ll find the next overlooked prize artifact. Because you never know when that old vase or statue marked a quarter could really be worth millions.


[Images via Sotheby’s]