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Car boot vase bought for $26 goes for $29,500

A ceramic vase picked up at a car boot sale for £20 ($26) during the 1990s has sold for an astonishing £21,960 ($29,411) at auction.

It turns out the vase was made by the celebrated maker Hans Coper, whose work graces some of the world’s most important collections. The piece was made sometime during the 1950s and resembles closely another held in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The owner only realised she might have something valuable on her hands after researching the maker’s mark on the bottom of the vase.

Hans Coper's organic style ceramics are highly prized (Image: Gildings Auctioneers)

She brought it to Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough, UK, which placed an estimate of £5,000-8,000 ($6,698-10,717) upon it.

Will Gilding, head of Gildings Auctioneers, told the BBC: “My vendor is flabbergasted that a vase she has lived with for all these years on her floor, with children playing around it, and the vacuum cleaner bumping against it every week, has raised so much money.

“Because of her eagle eye all those years ago, her retirement is starting off just that little bit happier.

“One of the great car boot treasure tales to be retold for years to come, I’m sure.”

Incredibly, this isn’t the first time this has happened for a piece by German-born Coper (1920-1981). His auction record is £381,000 ($510,385), set for a pointed vase belonging to an elderly woman in Devon in March this year. Her late husband had bought it for just £250 in the 1970s.

On your way to a flea market or car boot sale this weekend? Then you’ll want to keep an eye out for Hans Coper’s mark.

Coper's mark is a simple stamped

This has been something of a bumper week for finds of rare ceramics. A Chinese vase discovered in a French attic has turned out to be a Qing dynasty treasure worth upwards of $590,000. It will cross the block at Sotheby’s on June 12.

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