Kicker – A 15th century yard sale treasure


MARY REICHARD, HOST: This story will either strike you as great or awful. Depends on whether you are the seller or the buyer. 

A man in Connecticut recently bought a small porcelain bowl at a yard sale. About 6 inches in diameter with blue flowers on a white background. 

It so happens that the man is an antiques enthusiast. He had a hunch that the sale tag’s $35 might just be a bargain. And that is putting it mildly, as it turns out. 

The buyer later emailed information and photos to the auction company Sotheby’s, asking for an evaluation. 

Angela McAteer is an expert on Chinese ceramics and art. She told WCCT-TV…

MCATEER: So the bowl itself dates to the early 15th century during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who certain in terms of Chinese history is one of the all time great emperors. Blue and white porcelain production during his reign reached its zenith.

Nobody knows how such a rare Chinese artifact found its way to a yard sale in Connecticut. 

But here’s the part you’ve been waiting for: That $35 purchase? McAteer thinks the bowl will fetch between $300,000 and a half million dollars!

BASHAM: I’ve heard of buyer’s remorse. 

But this has to be a grave case of seller’s remorse, right?

It’s The World and Everything in It.


(Sotheby’s via AP) This photo, provided by Sotheby’s, in New York, on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, shows a small porcelain bowl bought for $35 at a Connecticut yard sale that turned out to be a rare, 15th century Chinese artifact worth between $300,000 and $500,000. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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