The find of a lifetime has turned into an even bigger pot of gold than expected.
Initially expected to sell for approximately $100,000, a rare Chinese vase that was made for the 18th-century Qianlong Emperor has sold for $487,000, or 380,000 British pounds, SWNS reports.
When the fees associated with the sale are included, the overall figure jumps to approximately $620,000, or 484,000 British pounds.
The vase was purchased at a store in Hertfordshire, England by an unnamed buyer, who then unassumingly listed the vase on eBay, the Daily Mail previously reported. After getting a slew of inquiries about it, the buyer realized the small yellow vase could be very valuable and took it to Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers, who told the buyer it was in fact made for the emperor.
The family rose is seen on the vase, which indicates it was not to be exported, but rather placed inside one of the emperor's palaces.
The catalog description of the vase notes that it is pear-shaped and is flanked by a pair of ruyi handles to the waisted neck. The 8-inch-high vase also has an inscription that reads "Weijing weiyi," which means to "be precise, be undivided."
There is also an inscription on it, with an imperial poem and two iron-red seal marks that say "Qianlong chen han" or "the Qianlong Emperor's own mark," the Mail added.
Yexue Li, head of the Asian art department at Sworders, told Fox News that the inscription makes the vase "special."
"The enamel on the vase is special because it uses yangcai (foreign) enamels on a yellow ground — a special color traditionally reserved for the emperor," Li said in a September interview with Fox News. "It's a high-quality vase because it was court commissioned, so it would have been of a high value when it was made. It is very exciting, and we've had a lot of interest already."
Following the sale, Li said it was the "perfect auction story" for such an important piece. "This has been the perfect auction story, a bargain find, a culturally important and beautiful work of art and a life-changing sum of money for the vendor," Li said in comments obtained by SWNS. "He is understandably ecstatic."
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Qing dynasty, having reigned from 1736-1796, according to the auction house. He eventually left the throne, abdicating it to his son, the Jiaqing Emperor. He died at the age of 87 in 1799.