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Tales of the unexpected … Chinese vase under the bed, 1930s necklace in a beans tin and more house clearance discoveries

Posted on 30/01/2019 in Press Coverage

Would you like to see my bright and breezy face outside your door one day? It’s a distinct possibility because I regularly visit people’s homes all over Derbyshire and beyond.

Why? Because house clearance and home visits are a key part of our business here at Hansons and they are essential.

For many, major decluttering is forced by the need to downsize or emigrate. For example, on February 25 we’re selling a vast and colourful collection of French Quimper pottery because its owners are moving abroad.

Steve Toogood, 66, and wife Lynn, 54, are offering people the chance to choose from around 300 pieces collected over 30 years. But they are experts in their field and know and understand the value of what they are parting with.

Often, that’s not the case. Some house clearance call-outs lead us to unexpected discoveries which delight their owners.

For example, Lot 282 in our December Fine Art Auction, a partial dinner service, was destined to be disposed of for free as it was not thought to be of any great value.


Thankfully, our associate director Adrian Rathbone spotted its star quality. He identified it as Eric Ravilious for Wedgwood part Garden dinner service.

Eric William Ravilious, who lived from 1903-1942, was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood-engraver who made a big impact in a short space of time.

He was only 39 when his life was cut short in a plane crash. His body was never found but he has never been forgotten thanks to his artistic prowess. In 1936, his skills earned him a commission from Wedgwood for ceramic designs.


His elegant Garden design appeared on two round tureens, a sauce boat, oval platter and mixture of dinner, dessert, side and soup dishes. The partial dinner service went on to sell for more than £1,000.

It’s gems like this, perhaps given as wedding gifts to your parents years ago, that may now be worth far more than you think.

We often come across silverware, a classic wedding present, and discover it’s never been used. In fact, it’s still pristine in its original box. It was kept for best, of course!

Odd little items can have unexpected value too. I once found a rare corkscrew in a kitchen drawer and a valuable 1930s dress tucked away in a wardrobe.

Then there was the 1930s necklace in an old tin with a baked beans label and an 18th century Chinese bronze vase tucked under a bed.

So, if house clearance or downsizing beckons in 2019, do get in touch. We offer free home visits and an antique expert’s eye could mean all the difference when it comes to ensuring no valuable items accidentally end up being given away or - worse still - tossed in a skip.

Hansons offers free home visits and can arrange complete or partial house clearance. To find out more, email [email protected] or call 01283 733988. Join us at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, for free valuations on Wednesdays, 5-7pm, Fridays, 9am-5pm and Saturdays, 9am-noon.