A rare 15th century porcelain bowl made in China that an antiques enthusiast picked up at a garage sale for $45 has been auctioned off for nearly $924,900.

The white bowl – believed to be one of only seven of its type to exist in the world – is adorned with blue paintings of flowers and other designs and was among a variety of Chinese works of art sold by Sotheby’s as part of its ‘Asia Week’ events.

The artefact was initially valued at between $US300,000 and $US500,000 but ended up selling for almost double the latter figure (inclusive of the agents’ fees). It’s believed to have been made in the shape of a lotus bud or chicken heart.

The Ming Dynasty-era piece was discovered by the seller when browsing a garage sale in Connecticut last year. They then emailed photos of the artefact to Sotheby’s for an evaluation.

But, how did the bowl end up at a garage sale? Well, that remains a mystery but Angela McAteer, head of Sotheby’s Chinese Works of Art Department, suggests it may have been passed down through generations of the same family who were unaware of its uniqueness and value.

Why don’t the garage sales we go to have anything valuable like this?

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