While walking through a yard sale in Connecticut last year, a buyer saw a pretty blue-and-white floral bowl amid the bric-a-brac. The design was intricate and the colors vibrant. He bought it for $35, the asking price. There was something about the bowl, though, that made him think it was something more important than an inexpensive but pretty flea market find. He took the bowl to Sotheby’s for evaluation. Experts there identified it as an extremely rare 15th-century Ming Dynasty bowl. It sold for $721,800 in a recent Sotheby’s auction after a battle among four bidders. Just six companion bowls are known, with most held in museum collections, including two in the National Palace Museum, Taipei; one in the British Museum; one in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and one in the National Museum of Iran, Tehran.
Moral of the story: Keep your eye out for treasures at garage sales!