yard sale find of old bowl worth half-a-million dollars!

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

YOU SHOULD HAVE HEARD ABOUT the yard sale find that is all over the in­ternet by now. A person paid the $35 asking price for a porce­lain bowl at a yard sale in Con­necticut. The buyer was an “an­tique en­thu­siast” who thought the old bowl could be some­thing spe­cial, meaning the buyer prob­ably had con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence in buying and selling such things.

The buyer emailed in­for­ma­tion and photos to Sotheby’s asking for an eval­u­a­tion. The auc­tion house’s ex­perts on Chi­nese ce­ramics and art con­firmed that the bowl was a 15th-century ar­ti­fact, one of only seven such bowls known to exist in the world. They valued it at be­tween $300,000 and $500,000.

The buyer has agreed to allow Sotheby’s to sell the bowl and it will be up for auc­tion on March 17, 2021, as part of Sotheby’s Auc­tion of Im­por­tant Chi­nese Art.

All of this in­for­ma­tion can be readily found on the in­ternet by typing some­thing like “$35 Chi­nese bowl yard sale” in your browser.

Old Bowl: photo of the 15th-century Chinese bowl that could be worth $500,000.

Another old bowl for sale

And re­mark­able finds at yard/garage/estate sales do happen. But if you are not a reg­ular yardsaler—meaning someone who reg­u­larly at­tends such sales as a buyer—but find your­self in­spired by this story to con­sider be­coming a yard­saler, know this:

Most of the $35 bowls that you will find on a Sat­urday morning at a sale like this were pur­chased by the seller at a local Wal­mart or Target for $5.99 the day before!

Most people know that the real es­tate mantra is “Lo­ca­tion! Lo­ca­tion! Lo­ca­tion!” Most people need to know that the yard sale mantra should be “Buyer be­ware: All sales are final.”

 Old Bowl: photo of a typical yard sale.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page ac­com­pa­nied the ar­ticle “Yard Sale Raises Money For Caleb & Friends” on the Chez Sven blog. Sights like this can be seen in yards across the country al­though most such sales are held in Spring and Summer when the weather al­lows for ca­sual out­door browsing.

Fi­nally, in case you’re pon­dering my bonafides: I have done count­less yard sales in sev­eral states over the past fifty years, mostly in pur­suit of old records.


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