Chinese vase sells for record 43 million pounds in Britain

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An 18th-century Chinese vase discovered in a house clearance fetched a staggering 43 million pounds (69.2 million dollars, 50.7 million euros) at a London auction on Thursday.

The 16-inch (40-centimetre) Qianlong porcelain vase, which was sold by Bainbridges auctioneers, is understood to have been bought by a private Chinese buyer.

It is thought to be the highest ever price paid for a Chinese art work at auction, and has made the brother and sister who inherited the vase following its discovery in a north London suburban home instant multi-millionaires.

Helen Porter of Bainbridges said: "They had no idea what they had. They were hopeful but they didn't dare believe until the hammer went down.

"When it did, the sister had to go out of the room and have a breath of fresh air."

The vase -- decorated with a "humorous fish" motif -- was expected to fetch between 800,000 pounds and 1.2 million pounds but far exceeded the valuations as a new breed of Chinese investors look to snap up artefacts from their imperial past.

It is unknown how the vase made it to Britain, but it is thought almost certain that the antique -- which dates from around 1740 -- was fired in the imperial kilns and kept in the Chinese Royal Palace.

© 2010 AFP

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