A small, chipped bowl that was bought for just £65 has stunned the art world after it sold for over £1.6 million pounds at auction.
The 10 inch diameter dice bowl was a 15th century Ming dynasty piece of porcelain and exceptionally rare.
It was bought by renowned collectors Otto and Gertrude Harriman after World War II when £65 and would have been worth £1,600 in today's money.
The family of the late couple decided to sell it at auction with an estimate of £20,000.
But Chinese bidders went into a frenzy over the blue and white bowl and it went for 84 times that amount at £1.68 million.
And according to experts it would have sold for even more had it not been damaged and chipped on the rim.
It was sold by Bainbridge's auction house in Ruislip, Middlesex – the same saleroom that famously sold a Chinese vase in 2010 for £59 million.
As well as the bowl, a simple looking four inch wide saucer estimated at £600 went under the hammer for £75,000.
The grey-green item dated back to the Song dynasty between 960 to 1279.
A second bowl, also from the Ming dynasty, sold for £850,000 – well above its £60,000 estimate.
The Harrimans – who were from Austro-Hungry but moved to London before the war – acquired a fine collection of Chinese art, part of which was declared as being of national importance.
After the death of Mrs Harriman in 1970, the collection lent to the Nottingham Castle Museum where it has been ever since until the family decided to auction part of it.
The star lot was the blue and white bowl that would have been used in dice games.
It is dated from the Xuande Emperor of the Ming dynasty who ruled between 1425 and 1435.
It was decorated with five-claw dragons among cloud scrolls and was one of 30 lots that went for over three million pounds in total.
Peter Bainbridge, who runs the saleroom, said the bowl was as rare as "hen's teeth".
He said: "This bowl was part of a collection that was put together by Otto and Gertrude Harriman.
"It was a dice bowl used for games, but you wouldn't have shaken it, you would have just rolled the dice in.
"It had a dragon relief on it and is exceptionally rare, and would have been more valuable had there not been some damage.
"It came from an intimate collection that was passed down from the Harrimans and has been on display in Nottingham.
"It was a collection of national importance and when the side of the family that had it died recently it was time to sell.
"The Harrimans bought the bowl from Bluett's in 1948 for £65 and Bluetts had bought it from a General Haughton in 1948 for 25 pounds.
"It has now gone back to China, and it just shows that the market is still very good for the right pieces."
Source: The Telegraph