An $800,000 Umbrella Stand. Yes Please.

Ever receive a gift and think “Well, I’m not going to throw it away, but I’ll store it in my junk room and put stuff in it?” Well, that’s exactly what an elderly couple in Dorset, UK thought of this vase. This ain’t the ugly sweater your grandma gave you for Christmas. It turns out that the “ugly vase” is a Chinese imperial vase made for the Emperor Qianlong in 1740. It’s estimated auction value is £500,000 ($807,000), which is more than their house and everything in it is worth.

From the Times Online UK article:

“Matthew Denney, from Duke’s auction house in Dorchester, spotted the 18th-century lantern vase, which is 18in high, in the owners’ spare bedroom. They were given the vase as present 50 years ago and had no idea that it was valuable.

The imperial mark on the vase’s base suggests that it was made for the Emperor Qianlong in about 1740.

It is not known when the vase came to Britain, but it has been connected with Embley Court in Hampshire, where Florence Nightingale’s family lived. It will be auctioned on February 11.”

Seriously, how do you end up with Florence Nightingale’s vase in your house and not know about it? Even better, how would you like to be the schmuck who gave it to this couple over 50 years ago without knowing what it was you were giving away? Sheesh.

While not quite as awesome as finding an original copy of the Declaration of Independence at a garage sale for $4, that’s a pretty sweet find when you’re in your golden years. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see a man about an umbrella stand.

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~ by K. Ritcheson on January 29, 2010.

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