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So it was a fairy tale come true for the vendor when it brought £19,000 in an Asian Decorative Arts sale on January 25.

Catalogued as 19th century and carved in shallow relief with a chicken group on rockwork before sprouting leaves, 2 1/2in (6.3cm) high, the little gem was rumoured in the trade to be a rare 18th century example.

London dealer Roger Keverne said: “It does have merit” and thought an 18th century date plausible but added that many fine mark and period jades were also made in the Jiaqing period (1796-1820).

It had everything going for it: the celadon jade was even in colour and it was one of the most sought after shades; the carving was well executed; the subject matter unusual for a jade work of art; and it was fresh-to-the-market.

The chicken decoration is most famously associated with the highly prized porcelain chicken cups of the Ming dynasty’s Chenghua period (1465-87) – an example of which previously held the world record for a piece of Chinese porcelain when it sold at Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, in 1999, for the equivalent of £2.4m.

There were six telephone lines for the jade chicken cup including four from the Hong Kong trade. London and New York dealers were also in the running and bidding was long and drawn-out in the steady climb to the £19,000 telephone clincher.