A family who had an old cannon in their garden didn’t know it could be worth £100,000.
The unnamed residents, who are originally from Anglesey, used the military relic as a garden ornament. It was only when an auctioneer arrived to value other items at their home that he spotted the weapon and revealed its significance, reports North Wales Live.
The family, who had had owned the cannon through the generations for about 120 years, had taken it with them when they moved from Wales to Dorchester.
They are now selling it at auction on Monday, November 9. The 5ft 6in object is among 770 lots in a sale called Asian Art from 10am that day.
A description on the Duke’s of Dorchester auctioneers website states that it is a rare Chinese bronze cannon from the Qianlong period, dated 1789.
The auctioneers add: “The cannon was acquired by a military family in the early 20th Century and thence by descent.”
Lee Young, Duke’s managing director and head of Asian art, called the discovery ‘incredibly rare’ especially in the UK as they are rarely seen outside Asia.
He said: “You can see these a lot in places like Beijing but they are not things that will often find their way back from China. So to see it in someone’s back garden is a bit of a surprise.”
It has an estimated value of £60,000 to £100,000.
Mr Young said there is still a great deal of interest in these items despite coronavirus restrictions forcing many people to follow sales remotely.
Duke’s say that the cannon bears an inscription dating to the third month of the Qianlong 54th year (1789) and is from the Guo Xing Fu merchants club. Guo Xing Fu was in charge of the maritime trade across south east China.
Duke’s add: “All foreign merchants bought Chinese export cargoes into Xiamen seaport during the turning point of the Ming and Qing dynasties.”
The cannon is Lot 181. Other lots include a throne chair said to be from the late Ming dynasty valued at £20,000 to £40,000.
To find out more visit dukes-auctions.com