The seller and the auctioneer thought it was a nice blue Chinese plate decorated with a white dragon. It was a donation selling at Jeffrey Walker's Dec. 4, 2013, auction in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, to raise money for Toronto's Gardiner Museum, which specializes in ceramic art. The plate's estimated value was $700 to $900 (Canadian dollars). A mysterious bidder travelled to Ottawa and started to bid against Internet and phone bidders when the price hit $250,000 (Canadian). The room got quiet as the sale price went to $1.25 million ($1.12 million U.S.). The 600-year-old plate is probably on its way to China, but the buyer has asked that his name and nationality be kept secret. The plate belonged to the donor's Austrian grandparents.
Photo Credit: Ottawa Citizen | Walker's Auctions