Thinking of having a spring clear out? Well, take care what you part with because items worth hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds have nearly ended up in landfill.
Isabel Murtough, valuer for Hansons Auctioneers, which has recently launched valuation days in Sheffield, has seen many things saved from the bin – or worse – that have gone on to sell for big money.
And her message to the people of Sheffield just before she comes to the area to do valuations at The Abbeydale Picture House, on April 10 is, bring me your treasures, even if you think they may be worthless.
Isabel, who specialises in jewellery but is also a general valuer, said: “One thing that really sticks in my mind was a pair of Amphora vases which a colleague took in at a free valuation day. They were entwined with dragons that were smashed and broken.
“Because of the damage, we put an estimate of £20-£30 on them and the owner joked that they’d nearly chucked them in the river.
“When they went to auction it went ballistic. They were eventually snapped up by an American buyer for £1,500, and bear in mind they would have had to pay buyer, restoration and transportation fees on top of that.
“The fact is a lot of people have items gathering dust at home that are very valuable and they have no idea.
“Plus, you can still get amazing finds at car boot sales and charity shops. A fellow valuer dealt with a box of Lego bought at a car boot sale which had lots of beautiful fine art jewellery hidden at the bottom.
“Last year, a glass designed in 1900 by Austrian artist Koloman Moser was bought for 99p at charity shop and fetched £170 at Hansons.
“And just before last Christmas, we sold three Chinese dishes bought at junk shops in the 1950s or 60s for £62,000. The owner was so amazed by the size of the windfall she said she might retire. Chinese and Asian art is hugely sought after right now.”
On March 27, Hansons witnessed the sale of another item destined for the bin which sold for hundreds of pounds.
An incomplete suffragette game, minus its playing board, sold for £620 from an estimate of £80-£120. Housed in a tiny box, the item consisted of playing instructions for the game, called Pank-a-Squith, dice and suffragette playing figures. It dated back to 1910.
The seller, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I almost threw it in the bin. It had been in the loft for years. It only came to light because we were downsizing after 32 years.”
Isabel, who has appeared on TV’s Flog It!, said: “Finds like this aren’t unusual and I often wonder how many things actually do end up in the bin when people are having a clear out.
“What I say to people is never be afraid to bring something along for free valuation, even if you think it’s of no value. I’m very happy to advise and will tell you the best way to sell it if it’s not right for auction.
“Even if you have no use for something there is someone who will want it. Hansons recently took in a set of giant perfume and aftershave bottles that used to be on display at a department store and the instant we posted a photo of them on our Instagram account we had potential buyers.
“People have sometimes bought things along for free valuation and said they were afraid we would laugh at them. If anyone laughs at you, don’t do business with them.
“I love meeting people and I’m really looking forward to the antiques valuation day at Sheffield. It’s a new monthly venue for us and we had great day last time we were there.
“Bring along your antiques, jewellery, watches, gold, silver, ceramics, books and collectables and you just might be celebrating your own windfall in our summer auctions.”
Hansons experts will be offering free valuations at The Abbeydale Picture House, 387 Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, S7 1FS, on April 10, from 10am-2pm. Valuations are free but donations are welcome for St Luke’s Sheffield Hospice. Items can be entered for sale at Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire. For a full list of Sheffield dates or to find out more, call Hendrika Stephens on 07939 565587. To find out all our latest free valuation dates, visit www.hansonsauctioneers.co.uk.