Behold! The most valuable Bargain Hunt item ever!

Virgin Radio

7 Aug 2022, 14:42

Credit: BBC

Sorry charity shop, this one isn't for you.

A man has made Bargain Hunt history, with one of the most valuable items to ever enter the auction house during the history of the hit BBC One show.

It's a teapot. It's short. It's stout. And it's valued at an eye-watering £390,000.

Antiques expert Charles Hanson was overwhelmed upon being shown the prized 18th Century find – originating from China – which had been tucked away in Burton-Upon-Trent.

The Hansons auctioneer founder described the historic item as “the most important item I've ever sold” as he explained the value of the tiny teapot to presenter Natasha Raskin Sharp.

“It’s amazing, I think this is the ultimate Bargain Hunt find," said Charles. "Our client came into the salesroom with a bag for charity but then this came out and he said, ‘Is it worth anything?’

“What we’ve got here Natasha, is a [teapot] and it would’ve been a ceremonial [teapot] used by the court of Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century.

“So it’s an imperial piece of enamel on copper, with that imperial yellow ground, very sacred, very important and very rare.”

Charles continued: “Emperor Qianlong who was that great Emperor of the Arts, he wanted his Beijing enamelist to make the very best. And the quality is simply out of this world.

“This is one of only three known, one’s in a museum in Taiwan, one’s in the museum of Beijing, China, and out of humble Burton-Upon-Trent, voila! Unbelievably we have another.”

The auctioneer then went on to reveal how the item had spent the best half of the last five decades hidden away in a loft.

The owner’s grandfather, Ronald Wadsworth, had spent time in Japan as a younger man.

Natasha spoke about the potential for international interest in the antique, particularly from the Far East.

“I think you’re right," said Charles. "it’s probably what Faberge is to Russians and what imperial enamel is to Chinese billionaires and this to me, is a must-have object for any important Chinese connoisseur wishing to buy the best of Emperor Qianlong’s treasures.

“This object for me, is in its historical placement, the most important object I've ever sold,” he continued.

The owner of the teapot, a construction worker from Swadlincote, explained that he had inherited the humble teapot from Burma Star medal owner Ronald. He was relieved he hadn't just taken it to the charity shop!

“I’m thrilled," he said, "this will change a few things for us all. I sat and watched the auction live at home with my brother and family.

“It was tense. I got a few cans of Guinness in beforehand. We’ll be going for a drink tonight and toasting granddad!”