Your local thrift store is probably the last place you will go to purchase thousand-dollar antiques. But there are exceptions to all rules, and an English couple recently accidentally stumbled upon one of them. Karen and Ahmet from Surrey, UK, bought a vintage ceramic vase for $3.30 only to later find out that it was worth $11,800. The excited pair is now selling their thrift find at Canterbury Auction Galleries, which already handled a sale of a similar antique vase in the past for almost $40,000.
A Couple Found a Valuable Antique Vase at the Local Charity Shop
A four-inch antique vase did not look like anything special at first. However, when Ahmet checked the object’s bottom, he noticed etch marks. He didn’t think much of them but suspected they might mean something important. Later, the couple ended up contacting Canterbury Auction Galleries for a professional appraisal. When the results came in, they discovered the real value of their accidental charity shop find.
Experts working at the auction house determined that the vase was created by the Japanese Meiji-period ceramist Namikawa Yasuyuki, dating the item back to at least the first quarter of the 20th century. Works by this famous artist are very highly valued by collectors. Along with another ceramist, Namikawa Sōsuke, Namikawa was a major figure of the “Golden Age” of enameling in Japan. In 2019, another antique vase made by the cloisonné artist was sold for $38,000.
The beautiful charity shop-found cloisonné vase bears images of cockerels and hens depicted in Namikawa Yasuyuki’s signature style. The colorful birds stand out against the black glossy background.
Cloisonné is a decorative technique that is characterized by colored enamel being separated by metal wires to make an intricate design. This ancient craft was very popular in mid-19th-century Japan. Namikawa Yasuyuki revolutionized Japanese enameling by inventing transparent black glaze. He is often regarded as one of the most prominent artists of the Kyoto naturalistic school of enameling. Notably, Namikawa Yasuyuki was one of the two cloisonné artists chosen by the Japanese Imperial Household Agency to create art for the Imperial Palace.
The vase will be displayed during the two-day auction between July 29 and July 30. Karen and Ahmet, the couple who found the antique piece, plan on donating a portion of the money they receive from the sale to the charity shop where they bought the item.