A CHIPPED and damaged vase which was being taken to a charity shop was rescued by an eagle-eyed auctioneer and sold for close to £90,000.

Grandmother Anne Beck always thought the old vase was too battered to display in her Eastbourne home.

She inherited the foot-tall oriental decoration from her grandfather.

He was an antique restorer, but neither he nor she ever repaired it.

Mrs Beck, 83, kept it in her garage for 11 years.

Eventually she loaded it into her car to take to a charity shop.

On her way she dropped in to an auctioneer’s valuation day to show off some glass finger bowls she wanted to sell and mentioned the vase in passing.

An expert at Eastbourne Auctions convinced her to add it to last week’s sale.

It was advertised online with an estimated sale price of between £90 and £120.

But knowledgeable bidders spotted the true value of the item and drove the price up to £70,000.

Including fees the German-based Chinese buyer, who bid for the item over the phone, paid £87,000 for the vase.

Had it been undamaged experts estimate it might have been worth between £250,000 and £500,000.

The yellow floral vase has since been confirmed to date to the 18th century and was made for Chinese emperor Qinglong.

It depicts a scene from Chinese mythology in which a deity receives birthday gifts.

Mrs Beck said: “After I consigned it for auction I thought that £100 would be nice.

“So I was absolutely amazed when I found out what it sold for. I couldn’t quite believe it.

“I had a sit down and a cup of coffee afterwards but am still in a bit of a daze now.”

Widow Anne said she intends to spend some of the money on her two children and four grandchildren.

Jeanette May of Eastbourne Auctions said: “The vendor came in with these glass finger bowls and said she had a broken vase in the back of her car that she was taking to a charity shop.

“Our assistant went out and saw it rattling around on the back seat and said ‘oh that’s nice’.

“He knew it was good but didn’t realise just how good.

“We are chuffed to bits for our client.”

The Qinglong Emperor, who died in 1799, was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China.

He was born Hongli, the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, and reigned from October 1735 to February 1796, abdicating in favour of his son.

A British visitor to the Qing court in 1793 described the emperor as slender with a fair complexion, dark eyes and an aquiline nose.