Ground Hog Day

A Chinese vase found in Nottinghamshire house sells for £15,000. The vase was expected to fetch £50 as it was thought the vase was a reproduction. The blue and white vase was 38 cm and was thought to date to circa 1640.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson of Hansons Auctioneers commented: “I spotted the vase in an ordinary two-up, two-down. It was filled with a few dried flowers in a bedroom. I picked it up and asked the seller if he knew anything about it. He mentioned that it had been given to his father when he was working as a chauffeur in the 1950s.”

Mr Hanson also said: “Why would a valuable piece of Chinese ceramics be tucked away in a modest house in Nottinghamshire? I arranged for the vase to be auctioned. However, despite my gut instinct, I made a mistake. After examination, I decided it was repro and consigned the vase into Hansons’ March Antiques and Collectables sale with a guide price of around £50”

“But when the auction catalogue went live online extraordinary bids started to come in for the humble vase. I withdrew it from sale to give myself time to consult Chinese ceramics experts and, importantly, ensure we achieved the best price possible for our client.”

See HereI Wish I Could Buy Shares In Hanson’s Auctioneers!


DO NOT Remove Verdigris From Chinese Antique Bronzes

Verdigris, what some people refer to as green “gunk” on Chinese antique bronze, is a natural form of patina that accumulates over time on copper, bronze and brass as it is exposed to air. In addition to varying shades of green, it may also be bluish green in color. It can also be induced using acids, and sometimes is artificially applied to new items made of these metals, especially copper.

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KweiChow Maotai Auction – Wu Xing Vintage Brand Sells For £111,250

In recent years, baijiu has been enjoying an increasing presence at major auction houses. Bottles of Kweichow Moutai, in particular, are regularly selling for substantial sums (with Sotheby’s in London a prominent recent example). Christie’s of Shanghai hosted another major auction in January 2022, with an authentic 1959 bottle of Moutai the star attraction of a 71-lot auction that comprised 613 bottles in total.

Dubbed “Enticing Flavours – Kweichow Moutai Online”, the auction involved selling off the prized collection of a single individual. The exhibition allowed interested parties to place bids on individual bottles from a wide array of eras. The 1959 was the oldest bottle in the batch, estimated to raise up to CNY 1,600,000 (around £185,500). Other lots included Moutai from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.

The 1959 vintage, dubbed the Wu Xing Moutai, is a white whale for many baijiu enthusiasts – hence the excitement. Other popular varieties were the Great Master Chang Dai-Chien Commemoration Moutai of 2012, which boasted a unique bottle design, and many other famed and celebrated years. The auction ran from January 4th to 18th and eventually closed at a value of CNY 9,525,600 (£1,103,923). Not bad for a day’s trading.

Read moreKweiChow Maotai Auction – Wu Xing Vintage Brand Sells For £111,250

£52,000 & £52,000 For Daoguang Bowls?



McTear’s auction room in Glasgow sold this pair of blue sgraffito ground famille rose bowls on December 17, the bowls had a Daoguang seal mark to the base.

Measuring under 6 inches across and the interiors decorated in underglaze blue while the exteriors were painted in famille rose colours with roundels filled with flowers all against a blue sgraffito ground.

McTear’s thought they were later copies and estimated them as such at just £100 to £200, obviously bidders thought different and took the bowls to £52,000 despite damage to both bowls.

Spookily, another pair of bowls, but this time on a yellow ground, sold at Rosebery’s auction in London on November the 9th.

Rosebery’s this time estimated their pair of yellow ground bowls at £8,000 to £12,000, and they also sold at £52,000 just like the McTear pair above.

They measured 4½in (11 cm) across. Rather than a typical Daoguang seal mark in underglaze blue, these had a four-character iron-red Shendetang Zhi marks to the bases.

It was said these bowls came by descent from the collection of Robert C Bruce (1898-1953) and were acquired by his great uncle Sir Frederick Bruce, ambassador to Peking from 1860-64.

History Of Chinese Cloisonne

Photo courtesy of

The history of Chinese cloisonne and the production of it’s ‘free standing’ objects is a surprising one. The art of cloisonne was commonly used during medieval times in most of Europe, England, the Middle-East, and the near East, on small accessories and jewelry. In fact this era coincided with the use of stained glass windows in Christian churches, and the understanding of how glass could be transformed, colored and shaped for many uses.

For cloisonne, glass flux was fired in metal cloisons, meant to reproduce the jewelled effect of precious stones in their primitive straight settings. Many cloisonne body ornaments have been found in tombs dating B.C. Today, international museums are displaying examples of Byzantine, Celtic, Persian, Egyptian, Slav, Greek, Islamic and Russian cloisonne pieces, from the B.C. and A.D. periods.

By the early 15th century, with the strong trade going to the Far East from the Near-East along the silk-route from Europe, Persia and India, cloisonne objects and other artistic crafts found their way to China and Japan. Cloisonne was adopted and became a refined and appreciated decorative medium, by the MING Dynasty emperors (1368-1644), and continued to be promoted and selectively produced from then on.

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Sworders Asian Art – 5th of Nov 2021

As I mentioned earlier prices seems very strong across the board for both high end and low end items. Sworders always manage to come up with good items. Surprise of the sale for many was the bronze censer shown below which sold for £50,000.

A Chinese blue and white brush pot.

Kangxi (1662-1722), of cylindrical form, the exterior finely inscribed with the text of the Shengzhu de Xianchen Song (Ode to the Finding of Virtuous Officials by the Divine Ruler) in kaishu script, finished with a seal mark reading Xi Chao Chuan Gu (Transmitting Antiquity from the Court of Kangxi), the base centred with a recessed circle enclosing a six-character Kangxi mark in underglaze blue,

18.2cm diameter

Sold for £125,000

Read moreSworders Asian Art – 5th of Nov 2021