Metal box set to be scrapped turns out to be antique treasure worth thousands

Posted on 20/08/2020 in Press Coverage

A metal box set aside for scrap could fetch thousands of pounds at auction after being spotted by an antiques expert.

Adrian Rathbone, associate director of Hansons Auctioneers, came across the object during a routine home visit in Lichfield, Staffs, to value items uncovered in lockdown – and immediately knew it could be highly valuable.

He said: “A client had requested a home visit for some general advice on items they were clearing out after a good sort out during lockdown. Laid out on the dining room were numerous tea sets and general china and glass. Unfortunately, the tea wares and other items did not carry any notable value but when the client pointed out a metal box described as scrap and destined for the tip, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“Among the old candlesticks and pewter wares was a small steel casket with gold decoration. I knew immediately it could be something special, so took it away to carry out research. The 15cm wide casket with hinged lid and intricate gold surface decoration turned out to originate from North India and dates from the 1850’s. It is a type of ware known as Sialkhot Koftgari. As it has a lock it’s likely someone of great stature used it to hold their precious jewellery.

The Indian casket has been valued at £2,000-£3,000 and will be go under the hammer in Hansons’ October 8 Country House Fine and Decorative Arts Auction at Bishton Hall, Staffordshire.

Adrian said: “It’s great when you find something unexpectedly lurking in a corner. I really feel happy for the owner because, when you tell them an item they were going to discard is actually worth a lot of money, it really makes their day.

“These types of caskets rarely turn up at auction so there are few to compare it to, and they vary in size, but all have the most distinctive intricate gold surface decoration mimicking Indian architectural features.

“The message to anyone who’s been having a lockdown clear-out, is don’t dismiss anything. In an ever-changing market, it is more crucial than ever to gain expert advice on your possessions.

Hansons' associate director Adrian Rathbone spotted the casket.

“Home visits like this provide a safe, friendly and informative service for clients. We are all curious by nature to know what items are, their history and what they may be worth.

“Whether you are downsizing, seeking advice on items you can no longer accommodate or have inherited or in the difficult position of having to clear a property, I am happy to help. Sometimes it is the items we overlook that are worth the most.”

Would you like a free valuation?

Find out if you are sitting on a fortune. Free home visits with a specialist valuer who can assess all manner of antiques, books, art, silver, jewellery or more can be made upon request. Alternatively, free valuation days are held at Bishton Hall, Bellamour Lane, Wolseley Bridge, ST17 0XN, every Monday, 10am-1pm for books, maps and prints and every Thursday, 10am-4pm for general antiques, silver, watches, pictures and collectables. Entries are invited for Hansons’ future auctions which include general and specialist sales such as the October 8 Country House Fine and Decorative Arts Auction. For further information please phone 01889 882397 or email [email protected]