It was eye-popping enough that an old bowl picked up for $35 at a Connecticut yard sale last year ended up dating to China's Ming dynasty of the 15th century. Ditto that Sotheby's valued the bowl at up to $500,000. But things got crazier on Wednesday when the bowl sold at auction for $721,800. The AP reports there were 15 bids, starting at $200,000 and finishing at $580,000, with fees taking the price up nearly another $150,000.
The 6-inch blue-and-white bowl was traced to the Yongle Emperor of 1403-24, and there are only six comparable bowls in existence. The New York Post reports at least five of those six are kept in museums, none of which are in the US. The buyer and seller's names were not disclosed. How the bowl ended up at a Connecticut yard sale is still a mystery as well. Sotheby's suggested it was possibly handed down through one family who didn't know its value. (Read more auction stories.)