A relatively unassuming customer arrived for an appraisal at this St. Louis Antiques Roadshow. She brought with her a broken Chinese sculpture, which she hoped that the Asian Arts appraiser would find to have some value. Ellen bought the bronze statue from a local garage sale for between $75 and $100, discovering it after a number of dealers had already been there and skipped over the piece. The appraised value will shock you.
The item was clearly dismissed due to damage, but every dealer who passed over this treasure will be kicking themselves today. Her find ended up being a beautiful early 15th century Chinese Bodhisattva gilt bronze statue – a devotional trinket with an auction value of $100,000 to $125,000. What is even more startling is how much it ended up fetching at a live auction. Ellen’s $100 dollar dirty Buddha statue sold for in excess of $2 million.
In what had to be the biggest, best surprise ever, a modest buyer ended up changing her life thanks to this 15th century find. The Chinese Bodhisattva may have been a little bit dirty and slightly broken, but not even this could impact the mammoth total fetched at auction. The full value wasn’t even realized at its first appraisal – what a find.