Offered at Pilton Auctions (19% buyer’s premium) of Barnstaple, Devon, it had come in for sale as part of a general clearance.
Another (much later) Qing work of art exceeded its top estimate by 215 times at a regional sale last month.
The item was described by Lockdales (18% buyer’s premium) of Mendlesham, near Ipswich, on June 12-13 as ‘Trinket box, with carved decoration to lid (possibly jade)’. In a commercial white colour, carved with scrolling dragons, the panel measured 3½ x 3in (8.5 x 7cm) across. Few could have hoped to buy it anywhere near the £20-40 estimate. The hammer price was £8600.