A Chinese vase has sold for 450 times its guide price after it was mistaken for a copy.
The intricately-painted porcelain wucai fish vase broke house records for Birmingham auctioneers Fellows when it sold for £810,000 and bidding beginning at just £1,000.
It had been priced by Fellows at just £1,800, after examinations suggested that it did not have the sophistication of an original piece.
But a range of bidders had spotted that it was actually made during the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Chinese Ming dynasty who ruled from 1521 to 1567.
Fierce competition between bidders at the sale in the city's Jewellery Quarter on Monday morning saw the price rocket up with telephone and online bids from competitors in the Far East. One bidder had made the trip from Japan in person.
"We examined the decoration to the collar and felt that it lacked sophistication of these early pieces" Fellows Senior specialist, Mark Huddleston said. "Two buyers in the room battled each other strongly before, at around the £600,000 mark, the final telephone left standing sparked into life. There was a lot of interest through the online bidding platforms as well.
"Finally at £800,000 the final bidder in the room admitted defeat, and with the next bid the telephone bidder, via his translator, secured the lot - to a round of applause for the auctioneer and Managing Director, Stephen Whittaker."
Fellows claim their low price originally came from the seller but they were also dubious that it was the real deal.
Mr Huddleston said "We are delighted with the house-record sale of the Chinese wucai vase. This vase was consigned via a Chinese client. "Initial research when cataloguing had pointed to a number of historic precedents sold in the tens and hundreds of thousands. We examined the decoration to the collar and felt that it lacked sophistication of these early pieces."
"Whilst we dealt with a number of condition enquiries before the sale, little could have prepared us for the result. Bidding began at £1,000 and, with a handful of telephone bidders plus the usual hundreds online, predicting the final price became impossible."
"The most gratifying aspect is that a number of bidders were actually in the saleroom and had viewed it in person. One bidder even flew in from Japan and has a number of these in his collection."