Bargain Hunt: Expert gives valuation of Chinese Imperial vase

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During a repeat of Bargain Hunt, BBC presenter Natasha Raskin Sharp took viewers to Heanor in Derbyshire. Thomas Forrester and Catherine Southon were also on hand as they guided the red and blue teams through their antique searches. However, it was the discovery of a broken Chinese vase that got the attention of Natasha after it was valued at thousands of pounds.

Natasha began by explaining why European antiques are fetching thousands at auction.

“With an increased demand for European-based treasures to be returned to their homeland, rare Imperial pieces are fetching some serious sums,” the expert began.

Natasha went on to speak with antique expert Charles Hanson who was auctioning off two European vases.

Speaking about the rare items, Charles exclaimed: “One is (worth) thousands. One would have been (worth) hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

As Charles pointed to the imperial vase, Natasha seemed to be lost for words as she hesitated before replying to the expert.

“To me that one is the more unusual design, so that would have been my guess,” she explained.

Discussing the vase, Charles continued: “This is ultimate. What we have got here and what people will look for is quality in what we call the heaping and piling.

“That style of blue, how it is graded and shaded. The depth of colour is exhilarating.”

Natasha went on to point out that the vase had once been broken and glued back together.

As a result, it was dismissed by its original owner and was left lying under a table in a house in Leicester.

“We know from the owner, whose great-grandfather was a great merchantman in Liverpool,” Charles said.

“He was quite a high-brow man. So, probably when he was in China in the Victorian times, this may have been a gift from the Chinese to him.”


Charles told Natasha there was only one other vase in the world like the Imperial vase they had in front of them.

Speaking about the value of the rare item, Charles added: “It would have been worth hundreds of thousands but let me turn it around.

“You’ll [see what] is yellow enamel decoration, but in fact, it’s probably just 1930’s glue.”

“It hurts to see it,” Natasha replied. “But in a way, it is just what it is.”


Charles went on to leave Natasha gobsmacked as he explained the vase would have originally fetched between £600,000 to £800,000 at auction if it wasn’t broken.

“It probably would have fetched a million if it was in good condition,” he added.

Despite it being glued back together, Charles predicted the vase would be sent back to China and restored properly.

“I do foresee it going back home, being highly-priced once again,” Charles concluded.

Bargain Hunt is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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