Couple Finds Rare Japanese Vase While Thrift Shopping - Home & Texture
Art Rare Japanese Namikawa Yasuyuki Vase

Couple Finds Rare Japanese Vase While Shopping at a Thrift Store

July 27, 2023 at 5:06 PM PST

They say one person’s garbage is another man’s treasure. That’s exactly what happened to one couple from Epsom, Surrey, whose regular thrifting rendezvous turned into discovering a rare Japanese vase.

The couple, who prefers to use aliases Karen and Ahmetto to keep their identity from the public, thrift often together according to the Daily Mail. “I always head for the books, and he heads off to look for art and vintage stuff. He’s not an expert, but he does have great taste and an instinct for the ‘real thing,’” she explained. When her partner spotted the vase, they paid approximately $3 for it.

About the Vase

The tiny vase they found was actually a rare Namikawa Yasuyuki. Yasuyuki was a samurai and 19th-century cloisonné artist whose popularity rose around 1868 according to Art Net. The Japanese artist eventually started his own production company in the late 1800s and before his death, he was appointed as an imperial craftsman to the court of Emperor Meiji before retiring in 1915 Art Net reported.

After leaving the thrift store, they took their precious tiny vase home to do research on it. That’s when they contacted Canterbury Auction Galleries, Kent, to confirm its authenticity. Now, the rare vase is going to auction July 29 and is expected to sell for more than $13,000. A previous vase by Yasuyuki sold for over $100,000 in 2010.

Cliona Kilroy, co-director of Canterbury Auction Galleries, explained just how rare and highly sought after Yasuyuki’s work is. “He and Namikawa Sosuke were the most famous cloisonné artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries — the ‘Golden Age’ of enameling in Japan,” she explained.

The tiny vase is described as having “astonishing detail” with “hens on a black background.” It also appears to be set on a delicate gold-tone stone that is cut with precision.



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