An 18th-century Chinese imperial seal was auctioned for 21 million euros (about 22 million U.S. dollars) in Paris on Wednesday, refreshing a world record for this kind of bids.
The bidding battle between potential buyers raised the seal's price more than 20 times its estimated price.
According to the Drouot auction house, the seal in red and beige nephrite jade was used by Emperor Qianlong, the second longest serving emperor in Chinese history.
Emperor Qianlong's reign in China, from 1736 to 1795, was only one year shorter than his grandpa Emperor Kangxi's. During his period, Qing dynasty witnessed its peak of prosperity with a big population and a vast territory.
The seal decorated with nine dragons, the symbol of imperial authority, was used to sign Qianlong's personal calligraphy and paintings as the characters "Emperor Qianlong's paint brush" were carved underneath the seal, the auction house said.
The seal was reportedly acquired by a French naval doctor who traveled many times to China in the late 19th century, and remained in his family ever since.
The new owner of the imperial seal is an unnamed Chinese collector, according to Drouot house.