Estimated at just £300-400, this pair of Chinese famille rose moon flasks made £760,000 at Henry Adams on July 19.

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Although undated in the catalogue and estimated at just £300-400, the 11in (27cm) high vases were deemed by half a dozen seriously interested parties to be mark and period vessels from the imperial kilns of the emperor Qianlong (1736-1796). The central scenes show dragon boats arriving to welcoming crowds of children. The borders of imperial yellow are enamelled and carved - the technique is called graviata - with floral and other motifs.

Remarkably the vases, which epitomise Chinese collecting taste, were consigned to the saleroom as part of a large local house clearance. One had some old restoration to the neck. Bidding started at £5500 and rapidly rose to £350,000 before gradually winding its way up to a final hammer price of £760,000 (plus 15 per cent buyer's premium).

The buyer was a London dealer. The underbidder was a major Hong Kong dealer represented in the room by his son.

The vases are the fourth highest selling lot outside London behind Dreweatt Neate's Greuze portraits (£900,000), Hy. Duke's Fra Angelico panels (£1.7m) and Woolley & Wallis' Yuan dynasty vase (£2.6m).