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The porcelain dish, which had been owned by a family from County Derry, sold for a$2.4million. Photo by: BBC

Dish is best served cold as Derry family miss out on massive Ming Dynasty windfall

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The porcelain dish, which had been owned by a family from County Derry, sold for a$2.4million. Photo by: BBC

A Derry family are in shock after missing out on a $2.4million bonanza – for a cracked Chinese Ming Dynasty porcelain dish.

The dish was sold by the family of a former British Army officer just five months ago for $400,000.

That price staggered the owners who had placed a reserve of just $1,500 on the dish when it went under the hammer at an auction in Slane Castle.

Now the Ming Dynasty piece has sold in Hong Kong for a staggering $2.4million.

The former owners were uncontactable but are believed to be in shock according to reports. At the time of the 2011 sale they were said to be ‘delighted’ according to a report in the Irish Times newspaper.

The dish, complete with two hairlines cracks, measures just 10 inches in diameter. Agents say it was bought by a specialist dealer in London then sent to Hong Kong for the auction at Sotheby’s.

The auction house described it as: “A 15th-century magnificent blue and white ‘dragon’ dish.”

It was valued between $1.3million and $2million but eventually sold for $2.4million.
At the time of the Irish sale in November, local auctioneer James O’Halloran said: “It is exceptionally difficult to anticipate what people will pay for Chinese porcelain.”

The Irish Times reports that the dish was made at the royal kilns of Jingdezhen in the reign of the Emperor Xuande (1426-1435) and is decorated with an image of a five-clawed dragon, a symbol of imperial power.

The report states that the dish is extremely rare with the only other known example on display in a museum in Taipei, Taiwan.

It was brought to Ireland during the Victorian era by an officer of the British Army who had served in China.

The family had it valued on his death in 1985 – at just $1500.

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