Ming-style vase sets new record at $1.38M

PHILADELPHIA – America’s oldest auction house and one of Philadelphia’s oldest business experienced great success March 19 as Freeman’s auction house realized over $4.7 million in their Spring Fine & Decorative Asian Arts auction. With a packed gallery and more than 15 phone lines, the competition was heated for the most prized item of the day, the large and important Chinese blue and white Ming-style vase, which ultimately sold for $1.385 million to an in-room bidder from mainland China.

Warman's Rookwood Pottery

Warman’s Rookwood Pottery

Nearly identical examples sold in both the UK and Hong Kong within the past three years, for escalating prices, topping out at $750,000, that is, until Freeman’s March 19 sale.

“With the market still expanding, we were pleased, but not surprised to see our example of this iconic vase set the record for price realized at auction,” Rob Waterhouse, Vice President and Head of the Asian Division at Freeman’s said. Waterhouse was also the auctioneer for the vase.

The Asian Division at Freeman’s continues to be chosen to auction prominent Northeast collections of Fine and Decorative Asian Arts. The Ming-style vase was not the only piece from the auction to outshine predicted values. Another stunning qianlong period vase, carved from jade, consigned by the same owner, sold for $421,000. The fine and rare Chinese archaistic jade vase was heavily contested for, receiving bids online, over the phone, and also in the room.

“There were so many highlights from the day. A significant portion of jade and coral property at least doubled their high estimates. The stunning kesi panels were discovered by Richard Cervantes, a specialist in the division. He found them in a battered suitcase in a private Delaware consignor’s home, where they had been preserved for decades. The panels performed extraordinarily well, realizing over $150,000,” Waterhouse continued.

The Fine & Decorative Asian Arts auction begins the auction season for Freeman’s, which will hold auctions in Fine Modern & Contemporary Art, Fine American & European Paintings & Sculpture, Fine American Furniture & Decorative Arts, and Fine Jewelry through June.

“We couldn’t be happier. It proves that Philadelphia is an international hub, and that Freeman’s can produce results meeting and exceeding our competitors for choice pieces. It’s thrilling to be a part of an auction like this,” Samuel M. “Beau” Freeman II, Chairman, said.

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