A RARE Chinese vase sold for £2.6m after becoming the centre of a frenzied international bidding war at an auction in North Yorkshire.
Buyers flocked to Tennants Auctioneers yesterday from all areas of China in a bid to get their hands on the blue and white porcelain bottle vase, which was made in the reign of 18th century Emperor Yongzheng.
Eight phone bidders also joined the race to secure the rare piece, which was recently discovered by Rodney Tennant on a routine house visit.
Having spent more than 40 years in one house, the vase had survived being knocked over by the family cat, and had even escaped being damaged when the children played football around it.
The Oriental Ceramics section of the sale got off to a strong start, and there was a hushed silence in the packed saleroom as the star lot went under the hammer.
There was a 10-minute battle between bidders in the room and on the eight phone lines.
Eventually, two phone bidders went head to head and the room erupted into rapturous applause as the hammer went down at £2.6m.