This rock crystal Fatamid ewer sold for only £220,000 after being miscatalogued as a French 18th-19th century claret jug with an asking price of £100-200. It is instead a rare and valuable 11th century Fatamid object; the last one which appeared on the market was in 1862 and was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Lucian Harris of the Art Newspaper has the story. Is this really the way we should care for one of the world’s rarest examples of Islamic art?
One dealer who described the crystal ewer as a “Holy Grail” of Islamic art ruefully recounted how he had looked at the sale but failed to identify the ewer from the small, indistinct photograph of a “claret jug” on the website of the auction house. “I’ve spent my whole life hoping to find one” he said. “This may be the biggest sleeper ever to appear on the Islamic art market. It seems strange that it stopped at £220,000.”