A box labeled 'broken porcelain' stored for decades in an attic turned out to be Chinese antiques worth $200,000

  • A box of old crockery stored in an attic turned out to be Chinese porcelain worth $200,000.

  • The owner, Gill Stewart, found the box while searching for holiday decorations last year.

  • Even the auctioneer was surprised when the items sold for such a high price.

A box of tableware stored in an English attic for decades with the label "broken porcelain" sold at auction for more than $200,000 last week.

The owner, Gill Stewart, had been looking for Christmas decorations during the holiday season last year when she stumbled across the box, which she had inherited from her grandfather, the BBC reported.

She said she almost threw it away.

"Every time I went up to get the Christmas decorations, I thought, 'I must do something with that box,'" she told the outlet.

She eventually took it to an auctioneer in Louth, a town in England.

The auctioneer, James Laverack of John Taylors Auction Rooms, told the BBC the items looked "quite unassuming" and were the sort of thing people might find in yard sales and thrift stores.

A pair of white porcelain Chinese tea bowls, each decorated with a green and white nature design.
Chinese porcelain tea cups, part of a set that sold for $75,000 at auction.John Taylors Auctioneers

He initially divided the collection into lots, giving an initial total valuation of a couple of thousand dollars.

"We expected the Chinese ceramics to sell well — however, they achieved prices way beyond our dreams," Laverack told Business Insider.

Interest picked up quickly after the items were listed, and at the sale last week, the lots sold for a total of £160,000, or about $204,000, including fees.

The BBC reported that when Laverack called Stewart to tell her, he first asked her: "Are you sitting down?"

A set of five Chinese ceramic saucers, three white with a delicate multicolored depiction of a group of people in a countryside scene, and two white with a bold red pattern and dragon design.
Originally valued at about $100, these saucers sold for almost $45,000.John Taylors Auctioneers

One lot — a set of five Chinese saucers that had been valued at under $100 — ended up going for nearly $45,000.

Another set of 16 teacups, valued at no more than $100, sold for $75,000.

Even a broken bowl went for $6,300.

Stewart was "flabbergasted" by the news, Laverack told BI.

Stewart told the BBC that her grandfather had picked up the items in China, where he had been stationed before World War I.

She said many of them dated back hundreds of years, and her grandfather had kept detailed notes on their provenance. He also kept a note of who was responsible for breaking some of the pieces — which was often her grandmother, she said.

"She had broken the most valuable ones!" Stewart told the BBC.

Read the original article on Business Insider