£12,000 chip off the old pot: Collector’s vase was worth £14,000… until it was damaged as he wrapped for valuation
The vase only cost him £3 at a car boot sale.
So Alan Bridges probably didn’t fret too much when he accidentally chipped the ornament while wrapping it up to be valued.
The reality is the small blemish has cost him £12,000. The vase, which would have been worth £14,000 without the chip, would now sell for just £2,000.
Experts on the Antiques Roadshow, which featured the vase yesterday, said it was the most expensive chip they had ever seen.
The three-legged Japanese porcelain vase was made in about 1900 and had been used as an incense burner.
Retired businessman Mr Bridges, 75, of Colchester, Essex, tried to put on a brave face on the mishap.
He said: ‘Oh well, you can’t eat money, can you?
'I use the sale of such objects to add to a fund to put my four grandchildren through university. But there’ll be other finds out there.
Mr Bridges has been collecting for 45 years and decided to have the vase valued when the Roadshow came to Layer Marney Tower, a Tudor palace near Colchester..
However the damage was done as he wrapped it for transportation.
The show’s ceramics expert Lars Tharp told him last night: ‘That is probably the most expensive chip we have ever shown on the Antiques Roadshow.’
The two fish depicted on the side of the vase were painted with a 3D effect and are an important symbol in Japanese folklore.
Legend says they turn into dragons when they come out of the water.
Mr Bridges added: ‘The incense burner has such a beautiful drawing on it that I melted when I first saw it.’