An elaborate headdress worn by a senior Vietnamese official took €600,000 (£509,203) when it sold at Barcelona auction house Balclis on October 28. With buyer’s premium and fees, the buyer paid €735,000.
Consigned from a private collection in Spain with a guide value of just €600, this is thought to be the headgear of a ‘chanh nhat pham’ (first-rank) Nguyen dynasty court official working during the late 19th century.
The Nguyen was Vietnam’s last royal dynastic family, reigning from the Forbidden Purple City in the city of Huế for 143 years from 1802-1945.
According to Viet Nam News, bidders described this headgear in a gilt and lacquer box as the finest and most intact mandarin hat ever offered for sale. The buyer is said to be a Vietnamese businessman who is planning to return it to Huế, the seat of Nguyen power.