When a French engineer passed away, his family decided to put his items on auction. It turned out that a 5-feet wooden chest the engineer bought for only 130 dollars and used as a TV stand, was actually worth millions. At the auction, the Japanese antique chest was bought by the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam for around 8 million dollars.
The French engineer’s acquisition of the chest began when a Polish doctor, who was oblivious of the wooden chest’s real value, sold the antique to the engineer for only 130 dollars in London in 1970. The chest, crafted from cedar wood and intricately designed with gold lacquer, was made by Kaomi Nagashige, a master artisan from Kyoto in 1640. “The French engineer, thinking the chest to be of little value, used it as a TV stand,” said Menno Fitski, curator of the Rijksmuseum. “He also kept his drinks collection inside it,” he added.
Fitski says this has to be one of the bargains of the century. Even the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has been searching for the 300-year old chest, believed to be one of only ten existing in the world, since 1941. “The thing to note about this chest is that it is the best of the best. It was the best when it was made and the same still applies today,” said Fitski. The wooden chest is said to have been made on commission for the Dutch East India Company.
The Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam bought the wooden chest for 8 million dollars when the engineer’s family put his items at auction. The museum’s curator acknowledged that the museum “paid a lot of money,” but he also acknowledged that to acquire the wooden chest “is worth every penny.” Fitski described the chest’ quality to be of “the highest and the level of detail is incredible.”
[via The Telegraph]