The New York family owned it for decades, then they saw a similar piece in an ad
They say one man's junk is another man's treasure and that couldn't be more true about a rare Ming Dynasty vase that just sold at a U.S. auction.It was being used by an unidentified family in Long Island as a doorstop. Don't they know holding doors open is what old computers are for? The vase, which sat on a wooden stand, had belonged to the family for decades, until someone noticed a similar piece in a Sotheby's ad. The Ming Dynasty lasted from 1364 until 1644 so the vase is at least 368 years old.
The auction house initially estimated it would sell for between $600,000 and $900,000, but it went for more than a million. The vase sold as part of the Sotheby's sale of Chinese works of art this past week.
In addition to the blue and white vase, other highlights of the auction included a jade imperial seal from the Qing dynasty (about 1790), which sold for $3.5 million and an archaic bronze wine vessel from the 7-8th century B.C., which sold for $1.5 million. All of the lots combined sold for $27 million.
"We saw exceptional demand across the sale which drove the total to such heights," said Dr. Tao Wan, who was recently appointed head of the Chinese Works of Art Department at Sotheby's New York, in a BBC article. "Collectors from around the world were drawn to high-quality pieces with distinguished provenance, particularity that of museums."
The vase's $1.3 million price is far from the record-setting price of $21.6 million a Ming cobalt blue Meiping vase sold at an auction last October.
On another auction note: Elvis's Dirty Underwear Did Not Sell
Elvis Presley's bible may have sold for $92,000, but an item the King had much closer to him didn't sell - his soiled underpants.
In his heyday, many women hoped he would love them tender so they could get their hands on his under garments and rock his jailhouse, but today the most anyone was willing to pay was just under $8,000. Because no bidder was willing to pay the reserve price of $11,000, they didn't sell at the Omega Auctions in England.
The light blue pants were worn by Elvis under one of his famous jumpsuits during a 1977 concert. The style was specifically chosen by the King, who didn't like visible lines under his tight-fitting outfits, reports BBC. They are unwashed and are stained. Initially, it was reported the garment was expected to fetch as much as $16,000.
(It reminds me of that old joke:-" The doctor wanted urine,stool and semen samples so I handed him my underwear":)
The soiled underwear is pretty strange, but people seem to have an appetite for odd items that once belonged to celebrities. A handful of Elvis' hair sold for $115,000 in 2002. Gum once chewed by Britney Spears in Toronto went for $14,000 in 2004. A jar of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's breath sold for $530 in 2010. Good luck verifying that one. Justin Bieber's hair sold for more than $40,000 last year and a piece of Justin Timberlake's partially eaten French toast sold for more than $3,000.
We're not sure what people do with chewed gum or a breath, but from pictures on the auction website, the soiled underwear are framed so they can be hung anywhere in the house. However, the kitchen probably isn't the best place.
And just in case you didn't believe me: