Rare Chinese Bowl Picked Up for $3, Sells for $2.2 Million at Auction

The seller had displayed the bowl in the living room for several years before consulting experts

By Cathy Rainone
|  Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013  |  Updated 10:41 AM PDT
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This undated photo provided by Sotheby's Auction House in New York shows a 1,000-year-old Chinese bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty.

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A family from New York didn’t know it then, but they essentially hit a jackpot when they picked up a Chinese ceramic bowl at a garage sale for $3 back in 2007, The Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, the bowl, which turned out to be a 1,000-year-old treasure, fetched $2.2 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York.

London dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi, who is regarded as one of the world’s foremost dealers of Oriental art, bought the 1,000-year-old piece. The bidding process was so fierce, that it drove the price of the item far above the presale estimate of up to $300,000, Sotheby's said, the New York Daily News reported.

Sotheby’s said the bowl – white in color,  with a saw-tooth pattern engraved around the outside and measuring 5-inches in diameter – was from the Northern Song Dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1127 and is known for its cultural and artistic accomplishments, according to NBC News.

The seller had displayed the bowl in the living room for several years and grew increasingly curious about its origins, according to the AP. The bowl was put up for sale after consulting with experts. The auction house would not reveal the seller’s identity.

The unique item was part of the opening session of Sotheby's fine Chinese ceramics and works of art auction, the AP reported. The only other known bowl of similar size and design has been in the collection of the British Museum for more than 60 years, Sotheby’s said.

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