Garage sale bowl bought for $2.89 sells for $2.1m

A rare Chinese bowl bought at a garage sale for $US3 ($2.89) has sold at a New York auction for more than $US2.22 million ($2.14 million).

The 1000-year-old bowl was part of the opening session of Sotheby's fine Chinese ceramics and works of art auction on Tuesday.

Sotheby's says it was sold to a London art dealer, Giuseppe Eskenazi, for $2.225 million after a battle involving four bidders - far above the pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.

An unnamed New York family put the 13-centimetre-wide "Ding" bowl up for auction after buying it at a garage sale in 2007 for $US3, and had it displayed in the living room for several years before becoming curious about its origins and having it examined.

The bowl is from the Northern Song Dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1279.

Sotheby's says the only known bowl of the same form, size and almost identical decoration has been in the collection of the British Museum in London for more than 60 years.