A rare Chinese bowl bought for $3 at a New York state garage sale has sold for $2.2 million at Sotheby’s auction.
The 1,000-year-old Ding bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty was bought for $3 in 2007.
The bowl was displayed on the mantelpiece of a New York family who had no idea of its real worth, auctioneers Sotheby’s said.
It sparked a sales battle before being snapped up by London dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi on Tuesday.
Sotheby’s originally estimated that the bowl, which measures just 5 inches in diameter, would sell for $300,000 at most.
Giuseppe Eskenazi, recognized as one of the most important dealers in Oriental art in the world, paid more than seven times its estimated value.
The art dealer entered into a “prolonged” fight with three other collectors, Sotheby’s said.
Sotheby’s said the bowl is a “remarkable and exceptionally beautiful example of Song pottery, celebrated for its thin potting, fine near-white body and ivory colored glaze”.
The only known bowl of the same form, size and almost identical decoration has been in the collection of the British Museum in London for more than 60 years, after being left to the museum by the prominent British collector Henry J. Oppenheim in 1947.
Sotheby’s said Song ceramics are increasingly being sought after by Chinese art collectors.