The $3 ceramic bowl a New York couple bought at a garage sale turned out to be a 1,000-year-old Chinese pottery piece that sold for $2.2 million at a Sotheby's auction on Tuesday.
Simplistic, ivory-colored, and with a diameter of about 5.5 inches, there are only two bowls of its kind in existence. Its counterpart is on display at the British Museum in London, thanks to Henry J. Oppenheim, who bequeathed the piece to the institution some 60 years ago.
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The piece is known as a Ding Bowl, named after the region where it came from in China, and was created in the 10th or 11th century when the Northern Song dynasty was in power.
Sotheby's originally estimated that the bowl would sell for $300,000 at most.
London-based Giuseppe Eskenazi, considered one of the biggest art dealers in the world, purchased the bowl
at more than seven times its estimated value, after a "prolonged" bidding war with three others at the auction, the BBC reported.
This isn’t the first time Eskenazi has made headlines for his auction purchases. In 2005, the Turkish-born art dealer made headlines after spending $23.5 million on a rare 14th-century blue and white jar
at a Christie’s auction, the New York Post reported.
Sotheby's did not identify the New York couple who bought the bowl from a garage sale six years ago, but the New York Post reported they kept it on a mantle in their home for years before consulting experts about how much it was worth.
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In a similar vein, a few weeks ago more than 1,000 paintings, drawings, and journals by an obscure Armenian-American abstract impressionist named Arthur Pinajian were discovered in a cottage in Long Island, N.Y. The collection has been appraised at $30 million.
The owners of the cottage, who purchased the property for $300,000 in 2007, said they found the works
while cleaning the garage and attic, according to The Associated Press.
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