World wide bidding sees Derbyshire vase sell for £21k

The Blue John vase that sold for ten times the original estimate at auction
The Blue John vase that sold for ten times the original estimate at auction

A 19th Century Blue John vase sold for ten times the original estimate at auction after being valued between £2,000 and £3,000.

The George III vase, which sits on a square plinth of white and Ashford Black marble, was made of Blue John which is a semi-precious mineral of purplish-blue or yellow fluorspar and is found only in Derbyshire.

The 48cm turned vase became the subject of a worldwide bidding battle in the saleroom at Mellors and Kirk Auctioneers, in Nottingham.

Auctioneer Nigel Kirk said: “This is a significant result as it underlines the strength of the market for this unique Derbyshire mineral.

“At the sale half a dozen bidders were in contention for the vase both in the saleroom and either bidding on the internet or over the telephone.”
Blue John is found only at Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern at Castleton in Derbyshire, and with mining occurring on a very small scale in modern days, it is extremely rare and collectable.

The auctioneers put a reserve on the vase of £7,000 but after noticing it was damaged reduced it to the lower price.

Nigel said: “It seems collectors were prepared to overlook the old restoration.”

The vase was originally in the collection of Colonel Charles Brocklehurst of Hare Hill Hall, Cheshire. One of the largest Blue John vases in existence was acquired by the 6th Duke of Devonshire and is still at Chatsworth House today.

Mr Kirk added: The origin of the name is a mystery, although it’s commonly believed to have come from the French bleu-jaune, meaning ‘blue-yellow’, when it was exported to France during the reign of Louis XVI.

“It was a perfect result because both the seller and local purchaser are delighted. I would urge anyone with Blue John items to treasure them; this Derbyshire mineral is as popular as it’s ever been.”