BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - An eight-foot Japanese vase was a gem hidden in plain sight. For more than a century it sat collecting dust in the dining room of the former Spenger's restaurant in Berkeley.
"This vase was long thought lost. The scholars knew it was exhibited at the 1894 fair but they didn't know its whereabouts, says " Vice President Deric Torres Clars Auction Gallery."
In fact, it was one of three vases made for the 1893 Chicago World Fair.
It was also on display at the 1894 Midwinter Fair in San Francisco. Experts say this particular vase cost $50,000 to be made in the late 1800s. Shortly after it was displayed at the Fair's. The Spenger's family bought it.
"When her great grandfather brought home. Her great grandmother liked it, but didn't love it and suggested it get relegated to the restaurant," said Torres.
For such a big piece of art, which sat in the restaurant. There is only minor damages to the vase.
According to experts, the vase and base took four years each to make. It's just one of several pieces Clars Auction Gallery is selling for the Spenger family. Including a 34.28 karat diamond ring with a platinum base, expected to go for at least $300,000.
The vase is expected to go for a lot less. However, it's the most complete and intact of the original three vases-- one of which is in Oxford, the other in Tokyo.
"The other examples do not have their base. So this example is the only example with the original base and the original crown," Torres said.
The vase and ring will go up for auction next month. But if you want something else from the Spenger's collection, those items will be auctioned on January 20.