Imagine you found an old china cup in the back of a cupboard that turned out to be worth £3.6 million pounds. That is exactly what happened at Staffordshire University last year and the amazing discovery gave first year student Richard Holmes the opportunity of a lifetime as he was asked to travel to Hong Kong to photograph the auction of the Stem Cup.

The cup was part of a collection of oriental ceramics donated to the University by London Chemist Ernest Thornhill in the 1940s to prevent damage from the Blitz in World War II. It had been placed in storage for years and the rediscovery created great excitement at the university. Auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull were appointed to sell the Stem Cup, which achieved a quite astonishing price. Proceeds from the sale will fund a purpose built centre for ceramics at the University’s Stoke-on-Trent campus which will house the remainder of the 270 piece collection.

Richard’s photographs were featured in national newspapers and he also had the opportunity to photograph some of the sights and street life of the bustling metropolis.