Collection of Chinese antiques sold at Sotheby's for £45.9m

A “treasure trove” of Chinese antiques belonging to Eton-educated farmer Roger Pilkington has been sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for £45.9 million – more than double its original estimate.
The collection contains nearly 100 pieces and is thought to have been initially sold for as little as £100 an item during the 1950s and 1960s.
According to the Daily Telegraph, experts have suggested that the extensive collection, which was eventually passed down to Pilkington’s children, may have begun with the acquisition of a snuff bottle.
That item is thought to have been purchased by Pilkington as a gift for is wife, providing the catalyst for an extensive collection that was passed on to his children shortly after his death in 1969.
A member of the family behind world famous glassmaker, Pilkington’s purchase of the snuff bottle is thought to have sparked his passion for Chinese ceramics, leading to the acquisition of items from Tang, Song, Ming and Qing dynasties of China, which spanned from 618 to 1912.
The sale of Pilkington’s collection has generated a sizeable profit, having been sold to Chinese collectors during an enthralling auction in Hong Kong.
The sale was initially expected to generate £20 million, but a soaring interest in Chinese antiquities has helped to dramatically double that price.
One of the standout pieces of the collection was a blue and white Moon Flask dating back to the 15th century, which sold for £10.1 million.
Meanwhile, an “exquisite holy water vessel” from the same period managed to fetch £9.1 million.
Experts suggest prices are symptomatic of a booming market among Chinese buyers, many of whom are keen to regain pieces they view as being a part of their overall heritage and identity.
The sale prices delighted many of the attendees at the auction, with Nicolas Chow, deputy director of Sotheby’s Hong Kong declaring the price to be “sensational”, adding he had joined in celebrations with Pilkington and his family, which reportedly went on until late into the night.
He said: “The Pilkington collection was a great secret to the art world. It has been passed by direct descent and some of the pieces were on display but it was a real treasure trove find.
“When we broke the news that this collection was coming on to the market there was a real buzz.”