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Plaque found in box of junk at property near Lichfield sells for £6,600 at auction

A forgotten plaque found in a box of junk at a property near Lichfield has sold for £6,600 at auction.

The Middle Eastern plaque. Pic: Hansons Auctioneers

The Middle Eastern plaque. Pic: Hansons Auctioneers

The unusual Middle Eastern item was discovered among contents consigned from the cellars of a grand country house and was thought to be worthless.

But it turned out to be packed with precious stones and sold for 11 times its top estimate when it went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire.

Adrian Rathbone, associate director of Hansons, said: “This was a wonderful find. The vendors had no idea the item was of great value.

“The plaque went into our sale with an estimate of £400 to £600. After intense bidding on the phones and internet, the gavel eventually fell to a London buyer at £6,600.”

Adrian added that the item had caught the eye of valuers.

“Our head of jewellery Helen Smith, with her vast knowledge of precious and semi-precious stones, was quick to note that this plaque was important,” he said.

“Made of gilt metal, it was awash with precious native flat cut rubies and emeralds, beautifully used to create a flower head and leaf design. All the rubies and emeralds were intact and it was in good condition. It was a small but beautiful object.

“A plaque found in a box of junk turned out to be the jewel in the crown.

“It’s a truly wonderful part of a valuer’s job to uncover something extra special in unexpected places – and barely a week goes by when that does not occur.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.