“At That Price It’s A Vahzz”

One of my favorite childhood memories was descending from our rural redoubt in the wilds of early 70s North-West Jersey with THS and Mountain Man to go shopping for a Christmas gift for the Parental Units. We were wearing our usual attire of “weathered” flannel shirts, smudgey jeans and mud bespattered work boots as we made the hour-plus drive to a high-falutin store. Our folks had a soft spot for Asian art, so we were looking for something along those lines as we sauntered in under the watchful eye of Reginald Hornbeam III, Esq. who was all nattily put together and not at all amused that we, who put the “riff” into “raff,” would even presume to enter his fine establishment. We looked around a bit, found something we thought might do the trick, and asked him “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” “how much is this vase?”

To which he sniffed somewhat dismissively, well, actually, exceedingly dismissively, at us “At that price it’s a vahzzz.”

So Sis pulled out a big wad of twenties and bought it.

What brought this to mind was this

The pair were clearing out their parents’ house in Pinner, Middlesex, after the elderly couple’s death, when they found the vase.

They put it aside, on top of a bookcase, as they continued to deal with the rest of their parents’ property.

It was only later that they decided it might be worth something and decided to to put it up for auction.

They took it to the local auctioneer Bainbridges, in nearby Ruislip, who were in turn excited by the find and valued it at between £800,000 and £1.2m.

However, no one expected the reaction from Chinese buyers, who pushed the bidding up over 30 frenzied minutes to a world record £43m.

By the end of the auction, the price was increasing in £1m chunks as the final few bidders – understood to be mainland Chinese businessmen – vied for the vase.

At one point, the sister selling it almost passed out from the rising value and had to leave the room for some fresh air.

The 18th century Qianlong-dynasty porcelain piece is believed to have fetched the highest price for any Chinese artwork ever sold at auction.

The total price, including commission and VAT on the commission, was £53,105,000.

I’ve got to start searching attics…

5 Responses to ““At That Price It’s A Vahzz””

  1. Fausta says:

    Let’s hope they don’t forget their customs refund form for the VAT!

  2. Rob says:

    And everything at that auction house is being reappraised.

  3. Dr Alice says:

    Love the story of the “vahzzz” you bought your parents. Moral: never diss a customer!

  4. Michael Lonie says:

    Well he didn’t lose the sale. I’m sure his attitude became more friendly when he saw all that long green. The prospect of gaining substantial amounts of money frequently has a mellowing effect on the most arrogant snob.

  5. There is only one video clip to watch at a time like this!

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