It might be better if the poor soul near New Haven, Conn., who sold an old bowl for $35 at a yard sale last year never finds out about this. It turns out the porcelain bowl dates back to China's Ming dynasty of the 15th century and is expected to fetch up to $500,000 later this month at a Sotheby's auction, reports Smithsonian. The sharp-eyed buyer hasn't been identified, but he apparently knew he'd stumbled onto something valuable, per CNN. He immediately sent photos to auction specialists, who confirmed his hunch. An in-person inspection traced the blue-and-white bowl back to the Yongle Emperor of 1403-24, and the auction says only six comparable bowls are in existence.
"In every respect, this delicate bowl is a quintessential Yongle product, made for the court, showing the striking combination of superb material and painting," says the listing. The 6.25-inch-wide bowl has an "incredibly smooth porcelain body" and an "unctuous silky glaze," Sotheby's Angela McAteer tells CNN. She adds that its particular style wasn't replicated in future dynasties. The auction house has put a price range of $300,000 to $500,000 on the bowl for the March 17 auction. (Another discovery of ancient Chinese porcelain resulted in an even bigger payday.)