What fun I had recently on my home turf, with East Devon PR for clients, Chilcotts. They really do have the best stories and I genuinely love getting involved in the research as we bring the threads of history together.
This time it was one of those chance finds that ends up being worth rather a lot of money. In this case, a Chinese vase, called a ‘moonflask’. Auctioneer and valuer Duncan Chilcott knew he had something extra special when he saw the object – and how right could he be? The rare puce-enamelled blue and white dragon bianhu moonflask sold for just under £500,000 in an auction held in Hong Kong.
Well, apart from racking my brains to remember if I had any Chinese vases in my own home (negative), I wrote up the story and sent it out to the usual suspects. Roger Malone at the Western Morning News got first dibs, he’s a great supporter of Chilcotts, as is Mike Byrne at the Echo. Then things went a little wild. Requests from South West news agencies came in and suddenly there was the news about the vase popped up on many popular online news sites, the BBC, Mirror, Mail and so on and so forth.
Of course, once in the mainstream press, the story morphed into something other than the truth, as it does. Suddenly, the vendor became a man from Devon who found a dusty old vase in the rattic, with much reference made to an episode of Only Fools and Horses.
“The man, who has not been named, had no idea of the value of his Chinese antique when he took it to be valued at an auction house.
But just like in the famous Only Fools and Horses episode, he was stunned to discover the family heirloom that had collected dust for decades was worth a fortune.”
This caused a fair amount of hilarity among those who knew the facts. But there was no damage, and Chilcotts was mentioned in a positive light in every case – what a result!
So what’s the next story going to be, I wonder? I can’t wait!