Rare vase once bought for $80 sells for huge sum after surviving house with pets

A “magnificent and highly important” vase with incredible historical significance has been sold for millions after being found collecting dust in a family home, where it had been for 50 years.

The 1742 Harry Garner Reticulated Vase, which earned praise from Chinese Emperor Qianlong, was once purchased for $80, but on July 11 was sold for nearly A$13 million.

The “exquisite porcelain” artefact was located in a remote European home, where it survived for half a century living among countless dogs and cats, according to Sotheby’s, a broker of fine and decorative art.

Photo shows Sotheby's auction of rare Chinese vase which sold for A$13 million.
The magnificent piece was sold on July 11 for close to A$13 million. Source: Sotherby's

Dutch art consultant Johan Bosch van Rosenthal came across the vase during a visit to the home of an elderly client who had inherited it.

After contacting Sotheby’s Asia Chairman Nicolas Chow with his finding, the vase was discovered to be “one of the most complex and exquisite porcelains ever to emerge on the market”.

Sotheby’s described the vase as “a technical masterpiece and the culmination of centuries of Chinese ingenuity”.

Photo shows The Harry Garner Reticulated Vase which has been purchased for millions.
The Harry Garner Reticulated Vase was once sold for $80, but has now been purchased for millions. Source: Sotherby's

The rediscovered vase features immaculate “archaic bronzes and jades via Longquan celadon and imperial blue-and-white to [a] Rococo flower design”, according to its extensive historical description.

“What is perhaps most admirable about it – even more than its technical sophistication – is its stylistic coherence, which fuses nostalgic nods to antiquity with fashionable takes on international trends of the day,” it read.

The vase is believed to be among a small handful of pieces with such significant historical value.

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