They’re richer than they thought

The sale of these chairs provided much-needed cash for mission at St. Matthias in Victoria. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's New York
The sale of these chairs provided much-needed cash for mission at St. Matthias in Victoria. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's New York
By on November 1, 2012

St. Matthias Anglican Church in Victoria is $630,000 richer after two 17th-century Chinese chairs were sold at Sotheby’s in New York. For decades, the wooden Qing dynasty armchairs, dating back 300 years, sat unnoticed at the back of the financially struggling church.

“They were fondly familiar fixtures in the church, but this windfall will allow us to do some creative things that we couldn’t do before, so I can’t say I am sad to see them go,” says the Rev. Robert Arril, St. Matthias’ rector.

In 2010, the chairs, assumed to be replicas, caught the sharp eye of a woman knowledgeable about Oriental antiques. After appraisal by local experts, they sold at a Sept. 11 Sotheby’s auction for $758,500 (including a buyer’s premium).

Several programs sponsored by St. Matthias, including outreach services for single mothers and homeless people, will directly benefit from the sale. The church also runs a small on-site apartment complex for low-income seniors.

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  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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