Yard sale find: Bowl turns out to be 15th-century artifact worth $300,000

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — You never know what you can find once yard sale season begins.

A shopper, who has not been identified, hit the jackpot with a $35 investment that could net him between $300,000 and $500,000.

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The person paid the $35 asking price for a small blue and white bowl at a yard sale in the New Haven, Connecticut, area, The Associated Press reported.

The person thought the 6-inch bowl could be something special when he saw it last year.

That’s when he sent photos to Sotheby’s asking for an evaluation of the piece. The experts on Chinese ceramics and art said this was one email that they’ve dreamt about receiving.

Little did the antique enthusiast know the bowl is one of only seven known to exist.

It dates back to the 1400s and the bowl itself is smooth, with a silky glaze. The designs and colors are common for that time period. Confirmation of the bowl’s history happened when experts were able to hold the item and examine it closely.

“The style of painting, the shape of the bowl, even just the color of the blue is quite characteristic of that early, early 15th century period of porcelain,” Angela McAteer said, according to the AP.

It comes from the early Ming period.

Most of the other six bowls similar to the yard sale find are in museums.

A new mystery has begun — how a nearly priceless antique landed on a yard sale table. McAteer said it could have been passed down through generations and the owners didn’t know how rare it was.

“It’s always quite astounding to think that it kind of still happens, that these treasures can be discovered. It’s always really exciting for us as specialists when something we didn’t even know existed here appears seemingly out of nowhere,” McAteer said.

The bowl will be put up for auction on March 17 in Sotheby’s Auction of Important Chinese Art and is expected to go for between $300,000 and $500,000.

Click here to see what else is going up for auction.

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