He Bought the £53M Chinese Vase, but He Didn’t Pay for It

1740 Qing Vase

Some five months ago we told you about a precious Chinese vase that sold for £53.1 million at auction. We mentioned how it was a heirloom passed down through generations in its owner’s family who had no idea just how valuable the piece was. When the 54 years old retired solicitor Anthony Johnson and his 85 years old mother Gene took it to Bainbridge’s auction house to sell it, they were told to expect between £800,000 and £1.2 million for the vase. We can only imagine how thrilled they must have been to hear that someone was willing to pay over £53 million for it.

However, their joy began to fade away as the weeks went by without any word from the buyer. According to some sources, the man was supposed to pay for the antique vase by February 9. Last week, Peter Bainbridge, the owner of the auction house, and Mr. Johnson flew out to meet the “wealthy industrialist” in Shanghai who had bought the piece.

It is known that the Chinese government has sabotaged auctions before in order to recover antique objects of remarkable historical and cultural value. They sent bidders to purchase the artifacts and then just “forgot” to pay them off. This time however, Peter Bainbridge assures us of the fact that there is no sabotage involved in the story: “I can tell you that is categorically wrong. I know everything about the deal. I know who the buyer is”.

The vase came from the 18th century China to Mr. Johnson’s family in a very interesting way. Patricia Newman gave it to her sister Gene in January 2010. Before that, it used to belong to Mrs. Newman’s husband, who had it from an “adventurer uncle” who brought it from China. We just hope everything will turn out good for Mr. Johnson and his mother.

1740 Qing Vase