A 330-year-old Chinese brushpot, which was discovered in a charity shop, excelled at a Salisbury, UK auction on May 23.
The fine brushpot was spotted by a volunteer after being anonymously donated to the St Peter's Hospice shop in Bristol, UK. The keen-eyed volunteers at the shop receive regular training on how to identify valuable antiques.
The auctioneer soon confirmed that the item was indeed a rare carved landscape bitong, or brushpot, dating from the rule of China's Kangxi emperor (1662-1722). The pot was crafted by Gu Jue, one of the foremost artists carving bamboo at the time.
Despite the poor condition of the piece, a bidding war ensured that it sailed past its initial estimate of £15,000-25,000, selling for £360,000 ($557,811) to a Hong Kong collector. The sale represents a 1,340% increase on estimate for the pot.
Following the sale, Janet Loud, head of shops at the charity, commented: "It is a fantastic boost for St Peter's Hospice in these difficult economic times when fund-raising is tough."
Bristol appears to be the place to pick up a bargain, after another anonymous donor delivered a rare first-edition of the second Harry Potter book, worth over £750, to another of the city's charity shops.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has two Harry Potter books in stock, both signed by Daniel Radcliffe. Each one provides a rare opportunity to own a signed copy of the books at a great price.