March 20, 2013
It’s every garage sale shopper’s dream: Pay pocket change for someone else’s used china, then find out one day that it’s worth millions.
A New York family had that dream come true yesterday. They bought a small used bowl for $3 at a garage sale back in 2007 and displayed it on their living room mantelpiece for years, with no idea of its real value.
In fact, that little white, five-inch bowl probably just sat there collecting dust all these years.
Recently, though, the family decided to see what it was worth. They had it examined by experts – and found out it was a rare 1,000-year-old item from the Northern Song Dynasty.
Sotheby’s estimated it would sell for $200,000 to $300,000 – not bad for a mere $3 garage-sale bowl.
But yesterday in New York City, during the opening session of Sotheby’s fine Chinese ceramics and art auction, things got even better. Much better.
A London dealer, Giuseppe Eskenazi, paid a shocking $2.225 million for the little bowl. It turns out there’s only one other known bowl of the same size and decoration, and it’s been sitting in London’s famed British Museum for more than 60 years.
Talk about spending $3 wisely.
For the rest of us, garage sales just might be packed to the gills this weekend.