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20th Oct 2022
Chinese lacquered box sold for 63000

Norfolk was the centre of an extraordinary Chinese bidding war when a small lacquered box went under the hammer at Aylsham – eventually selling for £63,000, many times its pre-sale estimate of £30-£40.

The 25cm diameter lacquer circular box decorated with Chinese symbols and a large sinuous dragon was part of the monthly Antiques & Collectables Sale at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers, and the item attracted several Chinese buyers bidding online.

The sale is the latest in a series of high prices paid by overseas bidders for lots going under the hammer at Keys.  Earlier this year an Indian buyer paid nearly a thousand times the pre-sale estimate for a watercolour by Norwich Art Circle member Violet Clutterbuck of ‘The Golden Temple at Amritsar’, whilst a late Ming altar vase sold in July for £16,200.

Keys was one of the first auction houses in the UK to develop its own live online bidding platform, which has enabled it to appeal to buyers all around the world, which the auction house says is a big reason keys has such a strong reputation when it comes to selling oriental items.

“We spent two years developing our KeysLive online bidding platform which went live just as the pandemic hit,” said Keys managing director Tim Blyth.  “That, combined with our expertise at digital marketing, is helping us to find enthusiastic buyers around the world who are prepared to spend big to secure items for their collections.

“The market for Chinese items in particular is very strong at the moment, but you still have to know how to attract the right buyers to achieve these kind of incredible hammer prices.  We are particularly pleased for the vendor, who is selling their collection to help fund care costs; this result will ensure they are financially secure.”

Keys is currently accepting items for its final Fine Sale of the year, which takes place at the end of November.  Lots already consigned for the sale include some early 18th century Kangxi dishes, which are also expected to attract attention from far eastern bidders.

More details of every forthcoming sale at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers, as well as results from every past sale, can be found at www.keysauctions.co.uk.