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Rare Chinese Bowl Bought For $3 At NY Tag Sale Sells For $2.2M

Rare Chinese 'Ding' Bowl (credit: Sotheby's)

Rare Chinese ‘Ding’ Bowl (credit: Sotheby’s)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – An upstate New York family was bowled over after a tag sale purchase for a mere $3 turned out to be worth $2.22 million.

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, the upstate bargain hunters bought the bowl at the tag sale in 2007 and had it displayed in the living room for six years.

But someone suggested checking it out, and what came back stunned the unidentified owner.

The 1,000-year-old “Ding” bowl was part of the opening session of Sotheby’s fine Chinese ceramics and works of art auction in New York City on Tuesday.

Sotheby’s says it was sold to a London dealer for $2.225 million, far above the presale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.

The four-way bidding war was won by Giuseppe Eskenazi, London Art Dealer with deep pockets.

According to Sotheby’s, there is only one other bowl like it in the world, and that bowl is at the British Museum in London.

The bowl is 5 inches in diameter, white in color and from the Northern Song Dynasty.

Following the surprise, bargain hunters were revving up their rummaging.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure — true story of that obviously,” said one woman, Annette.

This month, we have seen other trash to treasure stories.

In a Long Island garage, a treasure trove of abstract impressionist art turned out to be worth $30 million. And an Australian “Holey Dollar” coin from the early 1800s fetched more than $500,000 at auction.

“I have yard sales, and I always sell things cheap if you want it take it,” said bargain hunter Mary Jo Debonis.

Experts said garage and tag sale purchases can result in surprises.

“The thing about doing tag sales and garage sales is you don’t know what you have,” said Adam Hutter of Hutter Galleries.

Hutter said a well-publicized auction offers your best bet for the best return.

“You need to have it checked out by somebody — not somebody who is going to look to rip you off and buy it for cash and go away with it,” Hutter said. “They’re going to work for you to get the most money possible.”

And the valuable bowl has inspired many.

“I think I’ll take a look myself and see what I have and don’t even know it,” said thrift store owner Tony Magana.

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