Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 16:30 UK

Rare Chinese vase made into lamp

Hole drilled into Chinese vase (picture Dukes of Dorchester)
The 8mm (0.3in) hole was drilled to allow electric cabling to power the lamp

A rare Chinese vase worth 50,000 in mint condition has been listed to sell at just 6,000 after a hole was drilled in its base for use as a lamp.

The Chinese porcelain, which dates from between 1736 and 1796, will go under the hammer in Dorset on 24 July.

The owner's great-grandfather was believed to have bought the vase in the Far East in the early 20th Century.

The family did not realise its value and made an 0.3in (8mm) hole for cabling to use it as a table lamp.

The vase had been used as a lamp in the family's south-west London home for the past 40 years.

The owner's great aunt carried on using it to light her West Country cottage

Most recent Chinese dynasties
Qing Dynasty 1644-1911
Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
Yuan Dynasty 1271-1368

A family friend then spotted the vase, which features plantation leaves, lotus flowers and leafy scrolls, and took it to be valued.

Experts dated the 15 inch-high, bottle-shaped piece to the reign of Emperor Qianlong.

Similar Qing Dynasty porcelain from the era have sold for up to 50,000.

Auctioneer Deborah Doyle, of Dukes of Dorchester, said: "I don't think the owners knew how much it was worth before they drilled a hole in the base.

"The lady who brought it in was obviously disappointed but happy it was worth something, she had no idea.

"Despite its low estimate we still think it could easily sell for 20,000 even with the damage."

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