Swiss auction house sells vase for price 10,000 times higher than original estimate

A Chinese vase was sold in Geneva for more than 6 million Swiss francs (€5.18 million), setting a new local record price for a non-jewellery item. The price tag was substantially more than what the owner had been originally been quoted.

Swiss auction house sells vase for price 10,000 times higher than original estimate
The record-smashing Chinese porcelain item. Photo: Genève Enchères.

The yellow and blue vase fetched a record price at auction on September 21st in Geneva as part of auction house Genève Enchères' Asian art sale. 

“After a lengthy battle between a collector over the phone and a buyer in the room, the lot has finally been won by the buyer present in the room for five million Swiss francs, an amount never reached in Geneva for a work of art (except watches and jewellery),” said Geneva auction house Genève Enchères in a press release. 

The vase, 60cm high, depicts two dragons against a yellow background. It bears a Qianlong six character sealmark, a signature of 18th century Qing dynasty porcelain. 

The Qianlong sealmark. Photo: Genève Enchères. 

“This is the hammer price so with the commission added it is a total of 6.08 million Swiss francs (€5.1 million/$6.1 million),” auctioneer Olivier Fichot told AFP. 

The final price was 10,000 times more than the catalogue estimate. The vase had originally been estimated to be worth between 500 and 800 Swiss francs (€430-690/$515-825), according to Swiss news portal

The buyer, an amateur from Asia, was in the room for the auction, while his competitor bid by telephone, according to AFP.

The vase, article 567 in the auction house's Asian sale, sold for nearly 100 times more than any other piece in the same auction. 

The auction house's previous record was a bronze Buddha statue that sold for 550,000 Swiss francs (€475,241/$566,387).

READ MORE: Online auctions: 10 tips to avoid being ripped off


Art project shows the scope of Switzerland’s extraordinary glacier loss

An art project has shed light on the sheer scope of Switzerland’s glacier loss in recent years due to climate change.

Art project shows the scope of Switzerland’s extraordinary glacier loss
Photo: Studio Oefner/ETH Zurich

The project looks to “visualise 140 years of glacial retreat through an interactive network”. 

READ: Swiss glaciers shrink ten percent in five years 

The project is led by Swiss artist Fabian Oefner, who has reproduced the receding glaciers using neon lines which contrast with images of the glaciers as they currently stand. 

In a collaboration with with Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and Google mapped the shrinking glaciers over time. 

READ: Swiss 'glacier initiative' collects 120,000 signatures 

“Im interested in the concept of time and how change shapes the way we see reality”, Oefner says. 

Using drones equipped with LEDs, Oefner used real representations of glacial loss as the frame for the project. 

“I looked at maps where you could see the glacier in its current state and dozens of lines drawn on the map in front of it. Each of these lines represented where the glacier was in the past few decades,” Oefner said. 

“I wanted to find a way to transport the scientific data and bring it into reality”.