Block of wood used as doorstop expected to fetch £100,000

By Oliver Hurley,
24th April 2014 - 16:26
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Owners barking up wrong tree for 40 years as doorstop revealed to be rare Chinese brush pot

Update: 

The story of this pot, used as a doorstop for forty years (see below), became even more jaw-dropping when it achieved a six-figure sum at auction this week. 

A bidding war between a phone bidder and a buyer in the room, both from China, resulted in an estimate-busting £150,000 sale result - a testament to the growing strength of the Chinese market. 

The owner, who was at Sworders auctioneers during the sale, said the price left her 'at an absolute loss for words'.

Guy Schooling, managing director of Sworders said, 'A result like this only goes to show how easy it is for people to be sitting on a treasure trove at home without realising it.'

Here's to spending the bank holiday rummaging in the attic...

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Wood you believe it – a carving that was used as a doorstop in a Hertfordshire cottage for over 40 years is expected to sell at auction for more than £100,000 later this month.

The item was revealed to be a Chinese pot for storing calligraphers' brushes, that dates from the late 18th or early 19th century, after the owners took the item to auction house Sworders to be appraised. It will be sold at the company's Asian art sale on 29th April.

The owners, unaware of the lump of wood's true value, must have been stumped when the auctioneer recognised it as a rare example of zitan artwork. It is intricately carved from a single piece of wood with images of dozens of figures – a popular Chinese subject known as 'The Hundred Boys'.

It was initially given a guide price of £20,000-£30,000 but interest has since grown to such an extent that it's expected to achieve at least five times that amount.

'We expect our phone bidding lines to be fully booked and we know many Chinese specialists are travelling to our auction room to bid in person,' says Richard Harrison, Sworders' head of Asian art. 'With that level of interest, we could see it realise a sum well into six figures.'

Sworders, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. 01279 817778; sworder.co.uk