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Furious bidding war erupts as Chinese collectors bid more than £50,000 for bowls worth just £200

A pair of Chinese ceramic bowls, valued at just £200 at auction, sparked offers of more than £50,000 after a bidding war broke out between rival collectors today. 

The items, listed as a pair of 20th century Chinese copper-red and blue-ground Sanduo bowls, were sold by Olympia Auctions in west London.

The listing describes them as being part of a private European collection, acquired in Hong Kong, 1989, just over six inches (15.5cm) in diameter, with an estimated price of between £200 and £300.

A pair of Chinese ceramic bowls, valued at just £200 at auction, sparked offers of more than £50,000 after a bidding war broke out between collectors

A pair of Chinese ceramic bowls, valued at just £200 at auction, sparked offers of more than £50,000 after a bidding war broke out between collectors

Meanwhile, a pair of 20th century Chinese Doucai bowls, painted around the exterior with floral strap work, also sold today for some £28,000

Meanwhile, a pair of 20th century Chinese Doucai bowls, painted around the exterior with floral strap work, also sold today for some £28,000

A four line calligraphic inscription on a Chinese painting, mounted on a scroll titled Bamboo, sold for £33,000 having been listed at £500

A four line calligraphic inscription on a Chinese painting, mounted on a scroll titled Bamboo, sold for £33,000 having been listed at £500

Boom time for auction houses as lockdown Britons turned to online shopping for bargains

Auction houses are seeing a post-lockdown boom – with Zoom encouraging more buyers.

About 90 per cent of lots at auctions are going under the hammer now – a rise of 30 per cent of what was selling before March, according to Helen Carless, of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers. 

She said: ‘What lockdown also did was make buyers and sellers more tech-savvy, through Zoom calls and increased online shopping.

‘They quickly got the hang of doing a lot more things online, and that gave them the confidence to think, “I wonder how auctions work”. 

‘As their internet browsing increased, so did the reach of auction houses as more sales were held online because of social distancing restrictions.’

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It adds that they each have ‘deep rounded sides rising from a short foot to an everted rim, brightly decorated around the exterior with the three red fruit reserved against a blue ground, the interior white, the base with apocryphal Kangxi reign marks’. 

A spokesperson for the Works of Art department at Olympia Auctions said: ‘These were bowls were from a good private collection, and the result also reflects the buoyancy of the competitive Chinese market.’ 

Meanwhile, a pair of 20th century Chinese Doucai bowls, painted around the exterior with floral strap work, valued at just £300, also sold today for some £28,000. 

And a four line calligraphic inscription on a Chinese painting, mounted on a scroll titled Bamboo, sold for £33,000 having been listed at £500. 

It comes just days after a racing pigeon was sold at auction for more than £1.4 million to a mystery Chinese buyer.

The three-year-old hen called New Kim was sold by Belgian auctioneers Pigeon Paradise (PIPA) in an online auction for 1.6 million euros on Sunday.

The sale beat the 1.25 million euros paid last year for male pigeon Armando, dubbed the Lewis Hamilton of the sport which has become highly lucrative in China.

In a frantic final half hour of bidding, two Chinese buyers using the pseudonyms Super Duper and Hitman sent the price for New Kim sky-rocketing.

The champion bird from Antwerp is likely to be used by the unnamed buyer for breeding.

‘I believe it’s a world record, there has never been an officially documented sale at such a price,’ PIPA chairman Nikolaas Gyselbrecht said. ‘I didn’t think we could reach that amount.’ 

New Kim won the 2018 crown as ‘Ace Pigeon Grand National Middle Distance’ in competitions held at Châteauroux and Argenton-sur-Creuse in France.

The items, listed as a pair of 20th century Chinese copper-red and blue-ground Sanduo bowls, were sold by Olympia Auctions in west London

The items, listed as a pair of 20th century Chinese copper-red and blue-ground Sanduo bowls, were sold by Olympia Auctions in west London

The listing describes them as being part of a private European collection, acquired in Hong Kong, 1989, just over six inches (15.5cm) in diameter, with an estimated price of between £200 and £300

The listing describes them as being part of a private European collection, acquired in Hong Kong, 1989, just over six inches (15.5cm) in diameter, with an estimated price of between £200 and £300

The listing describes the bowls, pictured left and right, as being part of a private European collection, acquired in Hong Kong, 1989, just over six inches (15.5cm) in diameter, with an estimated price of between £200 and £300

Top European birds have won global fame in recent years and particularly in China where pigeon racing can generate huge winnings.

Wealthy buyers from the Gulf and Asia have forced up prices for champion birds for their instinctive ability to fly hundreds of miles and find their way back home. 

New Kim was trained by father and son Gaston and Kurt Van De Wouwer at their world-class loft in Berlaar, near Antwerp.

They sold their entire ‘collection’ of pigeons on Sunday.

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