A century-old silver mouse pin cushion, which had been tucked away in a display cabinet for 40 years, stunned its owner when it smashed its estimate to smithereens at auction.
The cute animal-inspired antique had an estimate of £80-£120 when it went under the hammer at Hansons London on June 11.
But it soared to success selling for £780 when the gavel fell at The Saleroom at the Normansfield Theatre, Teddington on Monday (June 11).
Shellshocked Owner Nikki O'Leary, from Surbiton, watched the auction unfold with TV celebrity Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons London, leading the bidding – and she couldn’t believe her eyes.
She said: “They said the mouse was generating a lot of interest but when I looked up at the auction screen and saw £370 I thought it must be a mistake. Then when Charles started saying ‘£460, £480, £500’, and the price kept going up and up, my jaw hit the floor.
“The mouse was given to me by my mother when I was 10 or 12 years old. I’m 60 now so I’ve had it for 50 years. It’s been in a display cabinet for 40 years.
“We’re downsizing and I’d heard about Hansons London’s valuation office in Hampton Court Village, which is just around the corner from us, so got in touch. I like watching Charles on TV, too, so seeing him auction the mouse was the icing on the cake for me.”
Nikki expected her tiny animal antique to sell for around £100 so gaining closer to £1,000 was a hugely unexpected windfall.
Charles Hanson, a regular on TV shows such as Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip, said: “I’m delighted for Nikki. This is the beauty of auctions. Prices can soar beyond all expectations when an item is truly sought after.
“The mouse pin cushion dates back to 1909 and was made by Robert Pringle & Sons of Birmingham. Edwardian silver pin cushions are popular and come in many forms, but there is a rarity value to this example. It’s unusual to see a mouse pin cushion from this era, hence the strong interest from collectors.
“Nikki’s experience shows, yet again, why it’s so important to get items professionally valued. We offer free valuations every week in the London area and we’d love to make more people as happy as we’ve made Nikki.”
“This week (June 15, 2018) TV celebrity Kate Bliss will be valuing silver, jewellery and watches for free at our Hampton Court Village Office so, if you have anything to dazzle her with , such as silver mice, do drop by. She will be delighted to see you.”
Kate Bliss will be at Hansons London Valuation and Consignment Office, 77 Bridge Road, Hampton Court Village, KT8 9HH, on June 15, from 11.30am-4pm. No appointment necessary. Free valuations are available at the venue every Wednesday, 11am-3pm, and every Friday, 10am-4pm. Free valuations are also available every Saturday at the Normansfield Theatre, Langdon Down Centre, 2A Langdon Park, Teddington, TW11 9PS, and at various locations in the south. To find out more, call 020 8979 7954, email [email protected] or visit www.hansonslondon.co.uk.