Cloisonné vases abandoned in storage unit sell for $52,900 at auction

MERIDEN, Conn. – A pair of rare cloisonné vases, abandoned due to unpaid storage fees in Oxford, Conn., set a new auction house record Jan. 30 when they sold for $52,900 at Next Egg Auctions.

Abandoned_Cloisonné_vases.jpgAccording to auctioneer Ryan Brechlin, the gavel price for the lotus blossom vases turned out to be a bit of a pleasant surprise. “They were in with more than 25 storage vaults from a Greenwich home.” Brechlin said. “Our early estimates for the pair were that they might sell for a couple thousand.”

Nest Egg Auctions had been contracted by Joyce Van Lines of Oxford to sell the contents of the vaults to satisfy storage liens on nearly $50,000 in unpaid fees. “It’s one of those contracts where we just sell what comes out of the vaults,” Brechlin added. “You never know what might be in there.”

When the vases came up for sale, the auction took on an international flair as a phone bidder telephoned in from London, some five time zones away where it was midnight. In the crowded auction hall a southern Connecticut buyer, who had closely examined the vases during the preview period, signaled his intention to make the vases his.

Cloisonné is an ancient technique for detailing metal objects. Shapes are outlined on the metal base with gold or silver wires. Colored enamel powder paste is carefully worked into the spaces and the object fired in a kiln.

Brechlin opened the bidding at $300 and the price soared, moving quickly as he shifted to $50, then $100, and then $500 bid points. Both the Connecticut buyer and the man in London showed no sign of dropping out. Bid points went to $1,000 and finally to $2,000 until the vases were sold to the live bidder at $46,000 plus a $6.900 buyer’s premium.

The crowd, many who had been holding their breath as the bidding soared higher, gave a standing ovation and cheered as the gavel slammed down on the sale.

-Posted by Eric Bradley

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