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“It was brought in on one of our valuation days,” said auctioneer George Holtby. “It was in a shocking condition having been smashed, glued back together and made into a table lamp. The repairs looked as if they were done by a 10-year-old.”

Undated in the catalogue, the 9¾in (24cm) tall vase bore a six-character mark to the base, but bidders seemed to think it was probably 19th century.

Internet bidding started between China, Britain and the US, with the hammer falling to a buyer from California at £3200.