A Chinese teapot that was found on a shelf of a house has been sold for a whopping $1.2M, despite having a cracked lid. When its owner brought it to expert Lee Young of Duke’s Auctioneers of Dorchester, Dorset, he didn’t know the cracked pot would turn out to be so valuable. The stamp on the pot's base was associated with Qianlong Emperor of China's Qiang dynasty who reigned from 1735 to 1796.

The 5 inches pot has a lid ornated with a peach that symbolized Imperial China's immortality and unity. Chinese mythology mentions about the 'tree of life' or peaches of immortality that could be consumed.

The green celadon teapot was a mere ornament in the living room of the semi-detached home of the owner living with his wife. The antique pot had been passed down by their ancestors but its origin is unknown.

"The combination of techniques and the outstanding quality of the potting marks this piece out as an Imperial masterpiece,” Young said. " It can be compared to similar wares from the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace in Beijing."

The teapot was originally valued at around $1200 (£1000) but it was sold within 10 minutes. The pot initiated a competitive bidding war among 10 buyers, with the final bidder paying a staggering price of about $1 million (£800,000). After including the auction house fees, the final price was about $1.3 million (£1,040,000). The buyer was reportedly a middle-aged businessman.

"As the owner handed me the teapot for an opinion my heart missed a beat," Young said, reported The Telegraph. "As I turned it over and saw the beautifully drawn blue seal mark of Qianlong I realised immediately that I was handling a piece made for the Emperor himself."

Tea pot and cup
Tea pot and cup ... not suitable for ouzo. Fred Prouser/Reuters