For Britons of a certain vintage the Antiques Roadshow was a Sunday evening ritual. The television show was compulsive viewing, not least to watch antique owners struggle to disguise their excitement when the experts put hefty valuations on some piece of bric-a-brac retrieved from a dead aunt’s loft. Enter a family from Chester, with a bronze Chinese vase. The Chester Standard reports that a dealer had been interested in the piece and offered $600. A second opinion was sought and auction house Byrne’s determined it was an 18th century imperial gilt bronze of great rarity. Bidders from China swamped the auction, with the colourful miniature piece eventually sold for $377,733. The seller (who remains anonymous) told the auctioneer “we will certainly be having a larger Christmas tree this year”.
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