Auctioneers are expecting a rare 14th century porcelain cup to fetch at least US$38 million at auction next month.
The Meiyintang Chenghua ‘Chicken Cup’ has been called the most valuable piece of porcelain held in any private collection.
Dating from China’s Ming dynasty, it measures eight centimetres in diameter.
There are only 14 others like it in the world, and only three others are in private hands.
When it comes to auction on April 8, it is expected to break the records for the most expensive Chinese porcelain, and most expensive Chinese artwork.
The current record is held by a Qing dynasty vase sold for US$32.4 million in 2010.
Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia says the cups are steeped in mythology.
“These chicken cups were produced for the Chenghua emperor, and soon after that, later emperors all collected them. They adored them, they praised them, they had them copied,” he said.
And if you think it looks familiar it probably does. Reproductions of these iconic cups can be found by the hundreds at any antique market in China.
“These are about the most forged and reproduced objects in the history of China,” Mr Chow said.
If it fetches the expected price, it will not be the first time the chicken cup has broken records.
It set the record for most expensive Chinese art in 1999 when it was sold for US$4 million.