Chinese Ming-style moonflask vase 'may fetch £500,000'

Blue and white Ming-style moonflask
Image caption The seller, a woman in her 80s, does not wish to be named

A blue and white Chinese Ming-style vase that arrived at a Wiltshire auction house in a cardboard box is expected to sell for £500,000.

The 11in (28cm) "moonflask" was created for the Imperial Qing Dynasty in the 18th Century, Woolley and Wallis auction house said.

The Salisbury-based firm said it had been copied directly from a Yongle original, now in the British Museum.

The seller, a woman in her 80s from west Dorset, does not wish to be named.

The moonflask is thought to have been acquired by the woman's father, Capt Edward Watkins Whittington-Ince between 1925 and 1927, when he served as commander-in-chief of the East Indies.

And, according to Kate Williams at Woolley and Wallis, it was "treasured as a family piece".

"[The owner] had no clue of its worth until she took it along to a valuation event - organised by the WI I think - in her local village," she said.

'She was astonished'

"The expert there realised it was a quality piece and told her to get in contact with us.

"And she brought it in to us in a cardboard box wrapped in a blanket."

John Axford, the auction house's Asian art specialist and regular expert on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, confirmed it was a rare Ming-style moonflask of the highest quality.

"When she was told the likely value was £500,000 she was astonished," said Ms Williams.

"It normally takes a bit of time for news like that to sink in but now she's decided to sell it."

The vase will be sold at auction on 16 November.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites