Man's incredible garage sale find worth $638k

Brianne Tolj
·2-min read

A surprised man has discovered a blue and white small bowl they bought at a garage sale for A$45 is actually a rare 15th-century Chinese antique.

The man, who has not been named, picked up the bowl, which features lotus and peony blossoms in New Haven, in the US state of Connecticut, last year.

Afterwards, he sent pictures of his newest find to auction specialists, who were quite intrigued, the head of the Chinese art department at Sotheby’s, Angela McAteer, told CNN.

"We instinctively had a very, very good feeling about it," she said.

The Chinese bowl from the Yongle period. Source: CNN/Sotheby's
The man, who has not been named, picked up the bowl, which features lotus and peony blossoms, last year. Source: CNN/Sotheby's

After further investigation, it was revealed the artefact, known as the “lotus bowl”, is actually an artefact from the court of the Yongle Emperor, who ruled between 1403 to 1424.

It has been valued at between A$383,000 and A$638,000.

“[The bowl had an] incredibly smooth porcelain body” and a "really unctuous silky glaze", McAteer said, the publication reported.

She also noted it “was never replicated in future reigns or dynasties".

“It had all the hallmarks that one would expect of these great commissions of the Yongle period,” she said.

The Yongle Emperor promoted the artistic importance of porcelain, Ms McAteer said.

A woman at a Garage Sale. Source: Getty
After further investigation, it was revealed the artefact, known as the “lotus bowl”, is actually an artefact from the court of the Yongle Emperor. Source: Getty

"He elevated it from being a utilitarian bowl, for example, into a true work of art,” she said.

Not much is known about how the incredible artefact ended up at the garage sale, with Ms McAteer dubbing it a “frustrating mystery”.

Sotheby's said only six other similar bowls are known to have survived.

The bowl will be auctioned off in March.

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