A family paid $3 for this bowl at a 2007 upstate New York garage sale. They kept it in their living room for years.
When curiosity finally compelled them to appraise the bowl at Sotheby’s, they were shocked to hear it was a thousand-year-old Northern Song Dynasty bowl valuated at $200,000-$300,000. The only other bowl of its kind sits at the British Museum in London. A bidding war ensued, and British art dealer Giuseppe Eskenaz snatched it up for $2.2 million. Mr. Eskenaz has been dealing Asian art for 30 years and believes his customers would pay even more.
Garage-to-auction flukes are the bread and butter of shows like “Antique Roadshow.” But more importantly, what does the market think is worth the same as this bowl?
1. Eleven of these three-bedroom houses in Austin, Texas
See listing here.
3. One year of public school for 168 Chicago students
As of 2011, Chicago schools spend $13,708 on each student per year.
6. The annual salaries of 142 Walmart associates and cashiers
7. Two hundred seventy eight years of labor for the average Chinese ceramics worker
According to this Chinese HR website, the average Chinese ceramics worker earns ￥4,106 RMB (or $660) per month.
Yes, imagine making ceramics in China for four complete lifetimes – and finally being being able to afford a Chinese bowl. Exchange value is a weird thing.
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