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Family stunned to discover vase used as bungalow doorstop for 30 years is worth £1MILLION

Mirror Mirror 22/06/2016 By Abigail O'Leary

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said the vase could fetch £1m in auction © Provided by Mirror Auctioneer Charles Hanson said the vase could fetch £1m in auction A porcelain vase which was used to prop open a door for more than 30 years has been revealed as a rare Chinese relic worth £1 million (about $2mNZD).

An auctioneer stumbled across the 26in tall vase when visiting a couple's modest bungalow.

After enquiring about its origins, he discovered the owners had inherited it in 1980 from their late great-aunt Florence, a Cornish antiques dealer.

Their children had even played ball games around it when growing up without realising its importance and value.

The couple had even considered selling the blue and white vase at a car boot sale but at the last minute had a change of mind and brought in an expert from Hansons Auctioneers of Derby.

After taking it away for further research they have since identified the piece as a Chinese imperial vase made for the Emperor Qianlong in the mid-18th century.

It was initially given an estimate of between £20,000 to £40,000 but the auction house has since increased this by 10 times that amount.

But auctioneer Charles Hanson, a regular on BBC's Bargain Hunt , said it could achieve a sale price of £1m given the huge interest in it from the Chinese market.

The vase was used as a doorstop for more than 30 years in the couple's bungalow © Provided by Mirror The vase was used as a doorstop for more than 30 years in the couple's bungalow Adrian Rathbone, from Hansons, said he was called out by the middle-aged couple to their bungalow home in the Birmingham area when he made the find.

He said: "The couple weren't aware of its value when they decided they wanted to sell it.

"Since they inherited it from a great-auntie in 1980 it had been used to prop open a door because it is so big and heavy.

"I found it on the hallway floor and the client said to me that they always wondered if it was of any value.

"I found the seal mark on the bottom and took it away for a closer look.

"We have confirmed the mark to be that of Emperor Qianlong who ruled in the 18th century and it would have been made for one of the imperial palaces.

"We estimated it at between £20,000 to £40,000 but after doing some further research and receiving quite a lot of interest and bookings to view it we decided to increase that value.

"The couple are obviously delighted. We all hope to have something like that in our home or attic that one day we can sell. It was a bit of a lottery win."

The owners said their children would even play ball games around the vase © Provided by Mirror The owners said their children would even play ball games around the vase The hexagonal-shaped vase has a pattern of cut branches, peaches, flowers and lingzhi stems on it.

It has European derived Baroque scrollwork spandrels which is said recalls the influence of European decorative arts seen at the Summer Palace in Peking (Beijing).

It is not clear when or how the item came to Britain but it is thought the owners' great-auntie purchased it from a house sale in the 1930s.

She died in 1978 when it was left to the owners.

Mr Hanson said: "The Chinese market is very vibrant at the moment and it could make £1m."

The vase is being sold on July 1.

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