A local council dustman, working in Bromley, found a discarded old mirror when doing his rounds in the 1970s. He took it back to the depot and for the next 40 years used it in his locker at work.
Last week, that mirror, a piece of Lalique more than 100 years old, sold at an antiques auction in Selsdon for £8,755.
Catherine Southon, the television antiques expert who conducted the auction, described the sale as “astonishing”.
It was one of a number of items auctioned at Southon’s regular event held at Farleigh Court Golf Club last Wednesday.
Also under the hammer was a large Ming dynasty Chinese lacquered figure of Guan Yin, carved in wood, which sold for £19,456. The two-foot-high figure had an estimated sale price of up to £300.
“The Lalique bronze mirror was certainly an astonishing price and not what we were expecting,” Southon said.
“I knew that in perfect condition they could reach thousands, but this example was in very poor condition. It was very tarnished and worn and the glass itself was scratched.”
Cast with three graces on the circular section among swirls and the handle cast with a devil figure, the mirror was stamped on the side “Lalique” and was expected to fetch no more than £500.
Southon said, “The Ming figure was also in poor condition – it was very badly wormed, worn and had a broken hand. We knew it was early but the condition concerned us – clearly the buyers were not so concerned.”
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