Shock as pair of Chinese dishes sell in Yorkshire for price of a house

An auctioneer says she is still reeling after selling a pair of dishes for £146,000 at an auction in East Yorkshire.

The two 18th century Chinese dishes

Caroline Hawley said the sale of the Yongzheng dishes, which feature five-clawed dragons and may have graced the Imperial family's table, was a career highlight.

The guide price was just £1,000 to £2,000 ahead of the auction at Beverley on Sunday.

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Mrs Hawley said as soon as the catalogue went online they realised there was going to be huge interest.

Caroline Hawley with the dishes

The Yongzheng Emperor was the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the third Qing emperor to rule over China proper, and reigned from 1722 to 1735.

Mrs Hawley - best known as one of the experts on TV shows like Flog It! And Bargain Hunt - said: "We had so many emails from people wanting to view, to get condition reports..Excitement was building.

"Before the sale I thought we might make tens of thousands, but it was a complete surprise.

"I got to the lot and looked down at my screen and could see the bids. I started at £12,000, then it went up slowly, slowly. It took a long time.

"There were a lot of phone bids from China. I think there were three near the end, then two, then one.

"It was the best ever result - and I've been in the trade a jolly long time - 35 years."

The dishes came from a deceased estate in East Yorkshire. Mrs Hawley said she was unable to disclose any details about the buyer.