We see it all the time: people start clearing out their attic or cellar and come across all sorts of weird and wonderful treasures. Most of the time, they don’t even suspect they could be sitting on a small fortune.
In mid-December, an elderly lady brought us a set of disused Christmas decorations for valuation. The entire collection filled two shoeboxes. She’d just sorted through her decorations for the coming Christmas, and since moving house she had no use for the old ones any more.
“They’re all real Gablonz glass. Perfect condition. Over a hundred years old.” There were lots of figures and trinkets, plus a few glass baubles. “What were you thinking of asking for them?” I enquired. “Oh, I’d expect a few hundred euros for them. It wouldn’t be worth the effort otherwise.”
- Furniture 19th C.
- Paintings 1850 to 1930
- Glass & Porcelain 19th C.
“I hadn’t expected this much for the whole lot. I’ll keep the glass baubles – my grandchildren can make use of them.”
Of course, every item was worth something, but this wasn’t going to add up to a fortune.
“But madam,” I burst out, “this bauble isn’t glass – and it certainly isn’t Gablonz!”
The lady looked at me in surprise. “Really? You must be right. It has always struck me as strange. I’ve absolutely no idea where it came from.”
“Actually, that doesn’t matter. This bauble is worth more than all the others together. It probably came from China and it must be at least 150 years old.”
“Oh!” said the old lady. I made a suggestion. “If you’re willing, I’ll put it up for auction with a starting price of €2,000.”
“That’s wonderful. I hadn’t expected this much for the whole lot. I’ll keep the glass baubles – my grandchildren can make use of them.”