On Thursday 28th June, Adam Partridge Auctioneers & Valuers hosted day one of their Antiques & Collectors’ Items with Northern Art, Wines & Spirits, Silver & Jewellery sale. It was an encouraging start to the auction, with high prices being achieved in the alcohol section in particular. All eyes, however, were on lot 686, a very fine, albeit badly damaged, Chinese Jiaqing mark and period (1796 – 1820) enamel decorated vase. The excitement was more than warranted, with dozens of bidders from the UK and overseas in the room, on the telephone and online, eager to get their hands on it. After five minutes of competitive bidding, the hammer fell at the staggering price of £110,920 including buyer’s premium.
The vendor, in the process of downsizing, took the vase and other pieces into Partridge’s Altrincham office for valuation, and was surprised when told that it was better heading to auction rather than to the tip! Of course, the significant damage, which consisted of a large piece missing from the rim and several substantial cracks, meant that the estimate was a low one, but it was abundantly clear that this was far more than just a decorative piece. Adam Partridge describes the first time he saw the vase, “getting a feeling that you only get a few times in this industry, seeing something truly special that has been lying around someone’s house for years without them having any knowledge of its value!” When it was taken to the Cheshire Saleroom to be catalogued, senior valuer Chris Surfleet identified the mark as dating from the Jiaqing period and notes that the colour yellow was reserved solely for the Emperor, and that those who used the colour without Imperial consent faced execution. As it got closer to the sale there was growing interest, however no one quite new that the extensively damaged vase would command such a high price.
The auction house, who have branches in Macclesfield, Liverpool and Altrincham are no strangers to important Chinese pieces, having sold a wig stand in 2012 for £94,400 (inc. buyer’s premium). The next Asian Art sale takes place at the Cheshire Saleroom on 1st November.