A house visit by antiques expert Simon Rayner, of Greenslade Taylor Hunt, to a Mid Devon homeowner revealed an unexpected Oriental offering.

Most of the items unearthed in the house call were destined for the general sale at Sedgemoor Auction Centre, but a couple of Chinese bronze incense burners, which had been in the family for some time, though the owner could not remember their origin, caught Simon’s eye.

Although the incense burners bore Xuande marks purporting to date from the early Ming dynasty, throughout history Chinese craftsmen have often imitated not only earlier styles, but also copied the marks of earlier dynasties, so these marks usually cannot be taken at face value.

However there was plenty of pre-sale interest in the bronze incense burners and a flurry of requests for condition reports flooded into The Octagon Salerooms, East Reach, Taunton.

On sale day itself two phone lines with Chinese bidders battled for ownership of one of the burners, which had a gold splash decoration.

A hush settled in the saleroom as bidding rose ferociously and concluded with one Chinese phone bidder outmanoeuvring the other to pay £7,000 for the tiny burner, which stood just 11cm high.
The second, smaller burner sold for a respectable £1,400.

Simon said: “The vendor was delighted. It just shows the demand for Chinese items. There is still strong interest in Chinese items and the internet really helps with that.”

The auctioneers have a long established tradition of selling items online and the current Covid restrictions have seen that demand increase with more virtual salegoers, who can log in from anywhere in the world.

“We are selling items on the internet and transporting them all over the world,” said Simon.

Demand for all types of antiques is buoyant with buyers especially interested in Chinese objects along with jewellery and ceramics.

The next sale takes place on Thursday, November 5. Contact the saleroom on 01823 332525 for more information.