A vase which was transported to a local Women’s Institute fair in a carrier bag, has turned out to be a rare Chinese artefact worth around half a million pounds. The Dorset pensioner, who remains unnamed, had previously kept the vase as an ornament, gathering dust. The woman decided to take it along to her local WI fair, where luckily the expert that day recognised the potential value of the item, advising her to contact experts in Asian art.

After contacting auctioneers Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury, the mystery woman has discovered that the old ornament left to her by her father, is actually a Chinese porcelain moon flask which is about 250 years old. The porcelain ornament is from the Qing Dynasty which ran from 1644 to 1912. The vase was passed down to the woman in 1976, when her father Edward Whittington-Ince died. She kept the vase, not because of its value of which she was unaware, but as a family heirloom. Her father discovered the vase when he was Royal Naval captain and Commander in Chief of the East Indies for the two years to 1927.

The vase is now up for auction, expected to fetch around £500,000. Although you don’t often discover antique furniture worth that amount lying around your attic, you will find a selection of fine pieces which may at one time have been family heirlooms, including antique dining chairs in the Lancashire area. The owner of the Chinese vase was astounded by the value of her ‘ornament’ which will auctioned 16th November 2011.

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