London, May 29 (ANI): A tiny 1.6 inches high snuff bottle that had been expected to sell for just 250,000 pounds at an auction, has been sold for nearly 1million pounds.
The beautiful enamel bottle had been made for China's Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century, and it was part of a collection put together by George and Mary Bloch, reports the Sun.
On one side, the bottle shows a woman and a young boy with an elaborate building and trees in the background, and on the other a woman with a basket of flowers and fruit and another young boy, with buildings and the tree-clad banks of a stream behind her.
The price paid by an anonymous collector was 9,280,000 Hong Kong dollars, which is 821,383 pounds.
The sale was Bonhams' first ever "Golden Gavel Auction", with every item sold.
The Bloch's entire collection is being auctioned over several sales and the first, of 140 bottles, made 5.8million pounds, smashing the pre-sale estimate of 1.8million pounds.
The bottles, which range between one and four inches high and date mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries, come with small spoons.
Snuff became popular in China during the early 17th century and because of the warm climate it was kept in airtight bottles, unlike in Britain where boxes were suitable.
It was during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) when the snuff bottle production boomed.
Bloch was a German Jew, born in Vienna, and educated in England whose family fled Austria for China in 1938, in fear of persecution from the Nazis, and he settled in Shanghai.
His wife Mary is now living in Hong Kong, and his family is selling the collection. (ANI)