Speed Reads

I'm a little teapot short and really expensive

Cracked teapot purchased for $20 sells at auction for $806,000

It's cracked and missing the lid, but there's a reason why a small teapot sold at auction last week for $806,000.

The teapot was made in South Carolina in the 1760s by John Bartlam, the first known porcelain manufacturer to set up shop in the United States. This is just the seventh piece of Bartlam's porcelain known to exist, the auction house Woolley & Wallis said, with the other pieces in private collections and museums. The winning bid was made on behalf of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the price 23 times what experts thought the teapot would go for, The Charlotte Observer reports.

The blue and white teapot is adorned with palmettos, the state tree of South Carolina, and was purchased through an English online antiques auction two years ago. The buyer didn't know at the time the significance of the pot, and "if it hadn't been for that internet bid, it probably would have ended up in a bin," Clare Durham of Woolley & Wallis told The New York Times. Catherine Garcia