Antiques Roadshow: Couple are stunned the value of their Chinese vases
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Antiques Roadshow arrived at Kenilworth Castle to help guests uncover how much their priceless possessions cost and whether they would sell at auction. Expert Lee Young was on hand to help the pair in question with their queries and to analyse the specific design of the Chinese vases. However, the star of the BBC programme discovered the couple had a disagreement about the antiques before realising they could be worth a pretty penny.
The expert began the discussion as he said: “Ok, so pair of vases. They’re Chinese, they’re attractive so they have all the right ingredients.”
Explaining the backstory, one of the guests told Lee: “They belonged to my father, they were presents from his sister, my auntie.
“The story is that my grandfather and the whole family moved to Hong Kong in the early 50s but subsequently they moved back into China leaving my dad as a teenager alone in Hong Kong.
“He joined the Hong Kong police force and for 30 odd years, my dad didn’t see any of his family so this was a present when my auntie actually met him 30-odd years later.”
“In terms of where they came from, is there any kind of story attached to them?” the expert asked the owner of the vases.
“We can read at the bottom, there is an age on it because of the name of the Chinese Emperor,” the guest said.
Delving into his analysis, Lee explained: “Yes, they do have a mark underneath and if I turn that over, we can see that six-character mark there for the Emperor Guangzhou and that’s between 1875 to 1908.
“That date, do I think that’s when they were made? I’m not sure that that’s when these were produced and there’s a number of reasons.
“For me, firstly, when I pick it up, the weight just feels a little bit off. Ceramics of the period somehow they speak to you.
“They just sort of do and you form a relationship with them immediately and I think when they’re right you just know instantly.”
I was going to auction it
Antiques Roadshow guest
“They’re decorated in this beautiful coral red and you’ve got what’s called the sort of ‘hundred butterflies’ pattern,” Lee continued.
“Have you ever counted them? I don’t think there will be 100 but anyway, this is the ‘hundred butterflies’.
“And then they’ve got this wonderful Famille rose, lotus flower and kind of scrolling tendril shouldered there.”
Fascinated with the decoration, Lee added: “So the decoration is really good and then at the top here, you’ve got these kinds of stylised sort of Rui motifs.
“There are fewer out there with this coral-red ground that I can see and generally, the ones I’ve seen that come on the market, that are coral-red do suggest they are off a slightly later date in manufacture.”
“Some suggest that they’re made from the Republic period so that would give us sort of 1912 to 1949. That’s a possibility,” Lee explained.
“But equally, they might not have been that old when they were bought in the 1980s. Even though I don’t think they’re of the period, they’re impressive.
“They’re in perfect condition I like them. Do you like them?” the expert asked the guests and he discovered there had been a clash.
Guest one said he liked them but his wife told Lee she “didn’t particularly like them” as she tried to throw them away, her husband said.
“I didn’t, I was going to auction it. I put it up for about £300 for the pair and then I heard about the story and then I pulled it off from the auction and there was interest,” she explained.
Lee replied: “I’m not surprised. Despite, obviously, that slightly later date on them, I still think at auction today, those would bring between £600 to £800.”
Having discovered the true value of the vases, guest one said: “Wow. Great. Good job you didn’t throw them away.”
“Does it make you like them a little bit more?” Lee asked guest two who replied: “A little bit more now.”
Antiques Roadshow is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
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