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'Chicken cup' sets record as most expensive piece of Chinese art

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 01:35

Apr. 8 - A tiny porcelain cup is sold at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong for a record $36M (USD). Jeanne Yurman reports.

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To many it looks like any ordinary tea cup. But this 'ordinary' cup, offered at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, just set a world record as the most expensive piece of Chinese art. AUCTIONEER SAYING (English): "Fair warning. Sold at 250 million dollars." Adding in the auction house's fees and commission, the price tag for this palm sized vessel rang in at slightly north of $36 million U.S. dollars. The 'chicken cup' gets its name from the rooster, hen and chicks encircling the outside. The porcelain piece is over 500 years old dating back to China's Ming Dynasty. The record price for this one has to do with its rarity. There are now only 16 such chicken cups known to exist in the world and most are in museums. Only four are in private hands including those of the winner, a Chinese art collector, who staked his claim over the phone. Nicolas Chow is the deputy chairman of Sotheby's Asia. SOTHEBY'S DEPUTY CHAIRMAN ASIA, NICHOLAS CHOW, SAYING (English): "It has gone to an extraordinarily good home in Shanghai -- the collection of Mr. Liu Yiqian who has a very famous museum that was opened recently, the Long Museum. And it will be, when it returns, the only genuine 'chicken cup' in the whole of China." The last time a similar chicken cup was auctioned, in 1999, it went for mere chicken scratch relative to this sale, fetching only a tenth of the price.

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'Chicken cup' sets record as most expensive piece of Chinese art

Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - 01:35