Vase discovered by chance in attic sells for €16.2million

Vase dumped in an attic turned out to be worth £14,000,000

The vase turned out to be a hugely important Chinese artefact

An 18th-century Chinese vase that was inside a shoebox in a French attic for years was sold for $19 million at a Paris auction house Tuesday.

The vase - which was given a pre-sale estimate of £700,000 - sold for a total of £14,249,000 including fees at an auction by Sotheby's in Paris.

A vase that was left to gather dust in a loft has been sold for more than £14million after it turned out to be a hugely important Chinese artefact.

A bowl from this period sold for $30m (£22.5m) at a Sotheby's auction last April - another example of the colossal prices that rare porcelain from this dynasty can fetch. The vase bears a mark of the Qianlong Emperor who ruled China from 1736 to 1795.

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The 16.2 million euros ($19.11 million) sale price included 2 million euros in auction costs and commissions.

The vase had been left to the grandparents of the seller by an uncle and was listed among the contents of the latter's Paris apartment after his death in 1947.

The vase was believed to have been commissioned in the early 1700s by Emperor Qianlong.

The sellers were unaware of the vase's importance or value until they took it into Sotheby's.

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The work of art features delicate details of a landscape with deer, cranes and pine trees - all of which symbolise health and longevity.

When the owner brought the box into Sotheby's and it was opened "we were all stunned by the beauty of the piece", said Sotheby's Asian arts expert, Olivier Valmier.

A centuries-old vase that was once in storage at a U.S. museum in Oklahoma sold at auction for NZ$24.3 million in Hong Kong earlier in the month.

Sotheby's website says that "porcelains with such elaborate and challenging designs are exceedingly rare", and that the only other vase of a similar design is now held in the Musee Guimet in Paris.

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"Given the huge appetite for Chinese art among today's collectors, now is the moment to scour your homes and attics, and to come to us with anything you might find!"

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