Carved jade piece fetches €630,000
A matchbox-sized piece of carved Chinese jade made €630,000 at auction in Co Laois this afternoon – the highest price ever paid for an antique in Ireland.
Sheppard’s auctioneers had expected the 'Qing period white jade seal' to sell for between €4,000 and €6,000 but the presence in the saleroom of bidders from China, who had arrived in the village of Durrow early this morning, suggested there might be a surprise in store.
The seal attracted an opening bid of 2,000 but soon an intense bidding battle ensued between a bidder on the telephone from Beijing and another on the internet from the city of Jingdezhen.
Bidding crept up in increments of €2,000 and lasted for 20 minutes before the hammer fell, to applause, at €630,000. The winner was the anonymous buyer on the internet.
Auctioneer Philip Sheppard afterwards described the result as “sensational” and more than double the previous Irish auction record for Asian art.
Professor Alan Fletcher of UCD, an expert on Chinese art who attended the auction, was “amazed” by the result and said the bidding battle was caused by “two people who desperately wanted it and had a lot of money”.
The jade seal is carved into the shape of a dragon and has already been dubbed 'The Durrow Dragon'.