…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
In a remarkable discovery, the family of Major Edward Coplestone Radcliffe, a war veteran turned antiques dealer, has sold his extraordinary collection of Chinese artefacts for nearly £1 million.
These relics, including pots, vases, bowls, and statues, had been stored in an attic cabinet, untouched for over 50 years.
This paraphrased article explores the story behind Major Radcliffe’s collection and highlights some of the remarkable items that were auctioned off.
The Legacy of Major Edward Coplestone Radcliffe:
Major Edward Coplestone Radcliffe, who served valiantly in both the First and Second World Wars, established an antiques business after his experiences in the trenches.
However, the outbreak of the Second World War interrupted his endeavors as he joined the troops evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940.
Throughout his life, Major Radcliffe diligently accumulated an impressive assortment of Chinese artefacts, preserving them in the family’s dusty attic for decades.
The Astonishing Finds:
Among the hidden treasures within the collection was a ‘lost’ Ming dynasty cloisonné box and cover, which commanded an astonishing sale price of £288,000.
Major Radcliffe had acquired this ‘pomegranate’ box for a mere £19 (£1,000 in today’s currency) in 1946, unaware of its true historical significance.
Experts initially mistook it for a 17th-century replica, but later confirmed it to be one of only five original pieces crafted for Xuande, the fifth emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
Rare Chinese Relics:
The auction showcased other remarkable items from Major Radcliffe’s collection.
A translucent jadeite dish from the Qing Dynasty, purchased by Radcliffe in 1945 for £28, fetched an impressive £53,480.
Additionally, a celadon ribbed vase from the Song Dynasty, acquired for £42 in 1946, sold for £34,000.
Notably, a small ‘Yaozhou’ celadon ‘fish’ conical bowl from the same era realized £24,000, and a Song Dynasty ‘Junyao’ dish commanded £22,000.
Unexpected Journey to Auction Success:
The discovery of Major Radcliffe’s collection, hidden away in a dust-filled attic cabinet, was met with astonishment.
Dreweatts Auctioneers of Newbury, Berkshire, oversaw the sale and expressed their delight with the results.
The Chinese cloisonné “pomegranate” box, in particular, garnered significant attention and fierce bidding from around the world.
The final hammer price of £230,000, rising to £288,000 with fees, demonstrated the enduring market strength and buyer confidence in such rare and valuable pieces.
Major Edward Coplestone Radcliffe’s remarkable collection of Chinese relics, painstakingly amassed over several decades, has finally come to light and brought immense joy to his family.
The sale of these artifacts, which had been hidden away in the family’s attic for 50 years, achieved nearly £1 million.
This serves as a testament to the enduring allure of Chinese antiquities and the importance of preserving historical treasures for future generations to appreciate and cherish.