WORLD record-breaking Ruislip auctioneer Peter Bainbridge has denied there are any problems with the sale of the Chinese vase, in an exclusive interview with the Gazette.
Mr Bainbridge's firm hit the headlines in November by selling a piece of pottery for a hammer price of £43million, a record for a Chinese work of art. But speculation has been rife in the last few weeks about whether the deal would actually be going through, about whether the buyer was genuine, and even about the authenticity of the vase itself.
Asked if there were problems with the sale to an anonymous Chinese art collector, Mr Bainbridge said: "That is categorically incorrect. The buyer is completely legitimate, with no ulterior motives. The sale is going through and is completely within the time-frame we are comfortable with."
It is now over four months since Mr Bainbridge smashed his gavel at the auctioneers' house in Ickenham Road, to signal the sale of a lifetime.
It is thought that the 16in-high ceramic found in a home in Pinner was fired in the imperial kilns during the Qianlong dynasty, in about 1740.
He continued: "We are not kids here, we are doing a proper job, we are doing it professionally. We have stood as a beacon of professionalism for many years, we do a brilliant job and there is no reason to doubt we won't do now. We know where the vase came from, we know it is authentic. This vase is a major A-list celebrity, it is the number one in the world in terms of ceramics. And we are treating it seriously."
Mr Bainbridge said there were many inaccuracies being reported by the national press in regard to the vase, such as that it was found on a wobbly bookshelf. And he said that his firm's efforts to keep the details of the transaction confidential, as it would do for any private client, had left the press to speculate on what was happening.
He added: "I am not at liberty to comment on when the deal will go through but there is no point printing something that is wrong."