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The 13in (33cm) dish, decorated to both sides in the Ming style with white flowering blossoms borne on leafy branches, is similar to others in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and both the National Museum and the Guangdong Museum in China.

According to family history, it was acquired in 1911 by Alexander Robertson (1861-1922). Born in Thornhill, Scotland, he emigrated first to Canada and then the US, where, by 1906, he was vice president of the Continental and Commercial Bank of Chicago.


Scotland-born Alexander Robertson became vice president of the Continental and Commercial Bank of Chicago in 1906.

Though he married, he had no children and, on his death, all his possessions were shipped back to Edinburgh where they were divided between relations. The dish was being sold by three siblings from south Derbyshire who inherited it from their grandmother two years ago.

Valued by the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow two decades ago at £20,000, the dish attracted 19 phone bidders at Hansons (the most ever taken by the auction house) with a £40,000-60,000 estimate. It was sold to a private overseas phone bidder.

At a glance

Auctioneer: Hansons

Date: September 29

Price paid: £230,000

Premium: 17.5%