An Italian plate found in a drawer has sold for $1.7 million at the Lyon & Turnbull auction in Edinburgh. Found in the drawer of a Scottish country house, the dish turned out to be the work of a famed 16th-century Italian ceramicist.
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The Istoriato-style dish was originally valued between $110,000 and $163,000. The plate stunned Experts when it sold for ten times that value.
The 16th-century plate bears a biblical scene by Italian artist Nicola da Urbino. The dish, which measures about 11 inches in diameter, featured the tale of Samson and Delilah. Antique experts say the Urbino made the dish around 1520-1523.
The auction was available by streamed online, where bids flooded in from all over the world. Auction enthusiasts made bids via phone and email. An anonymous bidder made the winning bid.
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“As the auctioneer, it was a real joy to bring the hammer down at over £1million ($1.7 million) on this incredibly rare dish – a new world record price I believe,” Gavin Strang, Lyon & Turnbull’s managing director and head of private collections, said in a statement.
Strang said it was ‘unprecedented’ for an item from such an early period to come to the market.
The maiolica relic made had an interesting journey from the time it got discovered to its eventual sale at the auction.
“The whole story of its discovery tucked away in a drawer, through the meticulous research carried out by our specialists, and then fierce international bidding on auction day has been exciting from beginning to end,” Strang said.
Things got tense as bidding for the piece kept elevating, something the antique expert says was a joy to watch.
He told CNN that “there was a round of applause when the hammer went down.” He further explained, “when something as unique as this appears on the market it really just depends on who has the most nerve or the deepest pockets.”
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Considered the master of the Istoriato-style of maiolica, Urbino lived in the early 16th century. Some describe him as the ‘Raphael of maiolica painting’.
The artifact was one of more than 400 items listed as part of the contents of Lowood House, a grand country house situated in the Scottish Borders. Pictures, furniture, books, silver, and works of art were all featured in the event run by British auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull.
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Sources: CNN, People
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