A Nottinghamshire couple were ‘gobsmacked’ to discover their old biscuit tin could be worth £1,500.
They took it along to a free antique valuation event to find out more about its history - and found out it was a rare collectors’ item that could hook them a sweet windfall.
The Huntley & Palmers biscuit tin was made in 1929 and doubles up as a clockwork double decker motor bus complete with passengers and driver.
It was discovered by Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, at a valuation event in aid of the NSPCC at the Methodist Church Hall, Main Street, East Bridgford, Notts, in October.
He said: “I was amazed when I saw it. It had been tucked away in a cupboard at a shop and still had its original cardboard box. It was made 90 years ago and dates back to the start of the Great Depression in 1929. It’s survived unscathed through numerous world events including the Second World War which lasted from 1939 to 1945.
“Thanks to the ingenuity of their designs, Huntley & Palmers biscuit tins became as highly prized as the products they contained. Now they are collectors’ items. From miniature replicas of vehicles to tins that could be re-used as household objects, the firm came up with ways to make their biscuit tins extra special.”
The owners of the bus biscuit tin, a retired Nottingham couple who wish to remain anonymous, were stunned by Charles’s assessment.
One of them said: “To say we were absolutely gobsmacked when we found out how much it could be worth is the understatement of the year.
“We’d just taken it along with a couple of other items to find out a bit more about it. I’ve kept it in a cupboard for 25 years. It’s come out of its box a couple of times. I inherited it from my mum and she got it from her cousin who used to run a corner shop in the Doncaster area a long time ago. It was found in a cupboard at the shop.
“We came across it again when we moved house. You put things away and just forget about them.”
Striking in red and cream, the bus features pictures of a sassy set of 1920s passengers together with the bus driver and a Huntley & Palmers advert for Breakfast Biscuits.
The roof of the bus opens to reveal the biscuit tin. Made by Huntley, Boorne & Stevens, the object is so rare it will enter Hansons next Toy Auction with an estimate of £1,000-£1,500.
Steve Fulford, toy valuer at Hansons, said: “A clockwork mechanism underneath the bus would have originally to enable it to move. The key has not been moved for a very long time but it should be possible to get it functioning again. It’s a lovely find.”
For a free toy valuation, email [email protected]. Hansons holds regular free antique valuation events in Nottinghamshire and will be at Newark Civil Centre, 14 Appleton Gate, Newark, NG24 1JY, on November 5, 10am-1pm. Free general valuations are also available at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, DE65 6LS, on Wednesdays, 5-7pm, Fridays, 10am-4pm, and Saturdays, 9am-noon.