Tiny 3-inch cup fetches $36M at Sotheby’s auction

HONG KONG (NBC/APTN) — A small cup fetched $36 million at auction Tuesday to smash the world record price for Chinese porcelain.

A collector from mainland China was the winning bidder of the so-called “chicken cup.”

It measures 3.1 inches in diameter and was made more than 500 years ago during the Ming Dynasty. It’s decorated with a rooster, a hen and their chicks.

The hammer at the Sotheby’s Auction came down at $250 million Hong Kong dollars with a buyers commission of $31 million Hong Kong dollars. That made for a total of $280 million Hong Kong dollars, or $36 million in U.S. dollars.

“I think it’s not a question of reasonable, not reasonable,” said Nicolas Chow, the international head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at Sotheby’s. “This is the unique opportunity; it’s an iconic Chinese art. It is worth what anyone is willing to pay for it.”

Sotheby’s said the previous record for Chinese porcelain was set by a Qianlong vase, which sold in 2010 for $32.4 million.

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