THE auctioneers who broke a world record for the sale of a Chinese vase last year have been unable to confirm this week whether the £43million deal has actually gone through.
But Bainbridges, in Ickenham Road, West Ruislip, said the exceptional price for the vase has been a factor in delaying the transfer the cash from the buyer to its sellers, a local family who continue to keep their identity secret.
Doubts were raised by a report in the Financial Times on Saturday (27), when auctioneer Peter Bainbridge declined to confirm the deal was done.
And an employee at Bainbridge's told the Gazette this week: "Money like that doesn't come easily, there is a lot to do.
"I don't know myself whether or not it has gone through, only Mr Bainbridge would know."
The auctioneer told the FT that it was not unusual for there to be delays receiving payment, but was unavailable for further comment this week.
The Qianglong imperial vase found in a Pinner bungalow was sold at a Ruislip warehouse on November 11 for a hammer price of £43million, a new record for a piece of Chinese pottery.
Bainbridge's itself was expected to receive about £8million from the sale, to an anonymous Chinese buyer.
But speculation has also been rife since then about the vase's authenticity. Dealers have said they are 'sceptical' of its origin, but none have actually had the chance to inspect the 16in-high vase.
A new contender to the world record was also unveiled last week, and goes on sale at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 7. It is also a Qing dynasty piece and could fetch more than £50m.