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Bidders bowled over by big sale

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

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TWO Chinese bowls that were estimated to fetch less than £100 when they went up for auction in Carmarthen have sold for a whopping £23,000.

Bidders at the Peter Francis general sale said they could not believe it as the offers got higher and higher.

Auctioneer Nigel Hodson said he was stunned when he finally brought the gavel down.

"We were flabbergasted," he said.

"I looked at those bowls and I didn't rate them at all, I'm embarrassed to say."

The highest of five bidders chasing the lot, a man from Leeds representing a London dealer, will have to pay commission on top of the £23,000 winning bid.

The auction house has since discovered the bowls are early 19th-century cloisonne bowls from China.

Cloisonne is a process where the characters on the side of the bowl are on a raised wire — the bowl is then enamelled.

Cloisonne bowls are usually bronze, with copper guilding — but on these bowls it is gold.

"We sell a lot of cloisonne and a lot of it is much more beautiful than these," said Mr Hodson.

"The majority of cloisonne seen at auction is touristy stuff which fetches tens rather than hundreds of pounds."

Mr Hodson added: "It's the right result for the customer and it's the right result for us."

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