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Something is wrong with this story--we are not hearing directly from the purchaser or auctioneer, so it is hard to judge. The seller has not announced whether he intends to pay, but it sounds like a case of buyer's remorse, which is not auction etiquette. It seems to me there was another high-profile case of non-payment from China a year or so ago. Sometimes 'honor in business' is a high-minded principle that easily goes out the window.Incidentally, maybe I need a better picture of the vase, but I can't see that its quality is all that great anyway. When I go to the museum, I head straight for the Ru- and Guan-ware.
It sounds like a bit of Buyer's Remorse might have come into play as well. But it is a possibility that it is just a plot to have the vase auctioned again and get it for a lower price. No serious collector would balk at the terms of commission after the fact and let that stand in the way of getting a prized possession unless there was deviousness involved. (Special arrangements as to fees are common in the U.S., but agreed to in advance).
Parnassus & DC - you both wrote similar comments, (without knowing what each other had written). But yes, there have been other incidences of Chinese not paying for their purchases at auction, (the YSL/Pierre Bergé Collection was one high profile one). It should make any auction house wary of Chinese buyers.And I agree, I said in my original post in 2010, that this was not something I would have bought, the pricetag notwithstanding.
Goodness gracious. I have a contemporary market report on my desk, as we speak! Is that a coincidence, or what? Country Life (15th Dec 2010) said the 18th century Qianlong vase was spotted on top of a wardrobe during the clearance of a bungalow. It was thought that the yang cai reticulated double walled vase, decorated in famille rose glazes, came from the Summer Palace or Forbidden City, perhaps being looted after the Second Opium War in 1860. It sold for £56.1 million.
Yes, this is the vase. A bit of nail-biting on the part of the seller and the auctioneer, (the latter missing out on his GBP6m commission).
Riveting tale of apparent greed and nefarious practiceover a rather nasty looking vase. Love it.
Rosie - yes, the vase is truly disappointing, and perhaps the buyer has realised the error of his ways, as I suggested he should when the item was what might now laughingly call "sold".
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