A Chinese vase which was accidentally smashed and glued back together in the 1950s has fetched £200,000 at an auction in Derbyshire.
Etwall-based Hansons Auctioneers said the price raised by the “badly broken” piece on Monday had left staff stunned.
The 18th-century item, spotted under a table during a house visit in Leicestershire, was described as “having cracks aplenty and visible repairs”.
Despite being tagged with a guide price of £15,000-£25,000, the vase – which dates back to the Qianlong (1735-1799) era – sparked fierce competition between 11 phone and online bidders, eventually selling to a private internet buyer in China.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “In good condition its auction estimate would have been in the region of £600,000 to £700,000.
“Though the vase had been smashed at a hunting party in the 1950s, it still displayed exceptional artistry thanks to its subtle combination of underglaze blue and copper red pigments.
“The vase was probably manufactured in the imperial kilns under the direction of Tang Ying during the early years of Qianlong’s reign, circa 1740, which would make it nearly 300 years old.
“The Chinese are extremely proud of their artistic heritage and the advanced skills their ancestors perfected centuries ago.
“Consequently, finds like this often spark strong bidding from the Far East as wealthy collectors like to repatriate items to their homeland.”