PUBLISHED: 16:37 16 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:37 16 November 2015
Love to snag a good deal? Bargain hunting - whether charity shops or garage sales - can pay off, writes Carol Burns
We all love that Antiques Roadshow moment when the expert reveals the value of the ‘found in an attic’ or ‘bought in a charity shop’ item. But what kind of gasp are you making? Is it a vicarious wow at the number of zeroes after the pound sign or are you likely to side with a Schadenfreude tut at the money that was wasted in hoping for enough cash to give up the day job.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, charity shops are among one of the best places to find antiques at a bargain price alongside car boot sales and jumble sales, as long as you don’t mind rummaging through a lot of household junk. But bargains are not that rare if you know what you are looking for - but don’t take my word for it. A recent charity shop donation sold for £7,000 at Clevedon Salerooms.
The salerooms have a long association with St Peter’s Hospice and run training sessions for their charity shop managers on what to look out for. And this the training paid off when one of their staff spotted a Chinese blue and white vase standing 41cm tall that had been handed into the shop.
They contacted Clevedon Salerooms who confirmed the vase was in the order of 200-year-old. The shape, known as Gu, was based on archaic Chinese burial bronze vessels. The vase was entered in the Salerooms September Quarterly Specialist Sale and with the market for Chinese works of art remaining very buoyant, telephone and internet bidders battled against one another, the victor paying £7,000 to secure the vase with the money going to this incredibly good cause.
This is by no means a one-off. A woman reportedly found a Renoir worth £50,000 in a £5 box of assorted junk at a flea market in the US. A little closer to home in 2012 the press were full of stories about a rare antique Chinese brushpot that was discovered by staff at a charity shop in North Somerset and at auction it raised £360,000.
For some these stories are a warning to be careful what you give away - to others it shows what good deeds those charity bags of unwanted household items can really be. And for still more its a great reason to get down to your local charity shop for a good rummage.
Either way the good causes will win!
13-15 November- Royal Bath & West Showground
Up to 600 quality indoor stands, plus outside pitches. Open Friday noon to 5pm, £10 (Friday ticket allows entry on Sat & Sun). Sat 9am-5pm, £5.
Sun 10am-4pm, £5.- Shepton Mallet BA4 6QN
1 November - Somerset West Country
Clock & Watch Fair- Well established clock and watch Fair that is now under new management, circa up to 40 stalls selling clocks, watches, parts new and old, books, spares and other horological items.
The Holiday Inn Taunton Deane Gate AveTaunton, TA1 2UA.