If you’re looking to save a few pounds, free up some storage space, or make a bit of money on the side, car boot sales and antiques fairs are the perfect place to visit. Not only that, but if you’re really lucky you might even discover a real treasure- that old trinket could be more valuable than you realise. So, here are our top 5 hidden finds from car boot sales and antiques fairs.
5. Alma-Tadema Victorian Portrait
In 2016, a portrait by the Victorian artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was presented on the Antiques Roadshow. The portrait featured Leopold Löwenstam, an engraver and friend of Alma-Tadema, and was brought in by Löwenstam’s great-great grandson. The expert Rupert Maas said it was “one of the best pictures we have ever seen on the Roadshow”, and valued the piece at between £200,000 and £300,000.
4. 16th Century Tibetan Figure
In 2016, a 16th century Tibetan figure of Green Tara, a Buddhist deity, was sold at auction for over £15,000, after being purchased at a car boot sale for only £25. The gilt-bronze figure measured approximately 6.5 inches tall, and featured a range of fine details such as a double lotus base. It is unclear how the figure ended up in the UK (and more specifically at a car boot sale!), but it likely originated from a wealthy Tibetan Buddhist.
3. The Angel of the North Sculpture
In 2008, a model of the famous Angel of the North by Antony Gormley was presented on the Antiques Roadshow. The bronze model, also created by the sculptor, measured 6ft tall and 17ft across, compared to the full-sized 66ft high sculpture. After previously being on display at the Gateshead Council offices, the model was valued at over £1 million- which at the time was the most valuable item to ever appear on the programme!
2. Rolex Panerai Watch
In 2016, a non-functioning Rolex Panerai watch – originally bought for under £10 at a car boot sale, and later re-discovered in a chest of drawers – was sold at auction for over £55,000! Only around 600 Rolex 17 Rubis Panerai 3636 watches were ever produced, between 1941 and 1943, and they were given to divers in the Royal Italian Navy who operated human torpedoes. As well as a Rolex movement, the watches were waterproof and featured an oversized, luminous clock face.
1. Andy Warhol Sketch
In 2012, a man from Devon discovered an Andy Warhol sketch that had never been seen before, after buying a collection of 5 pictures from a jumble sale in Las Vegas for only $5. After getting the piece appraised by an art expert, the sketch was valued at over £1 million! It is thought that the sketch was drawn by Warhol as a child, and only re-surfaced recently.
So there you have it! Another good reason to buy and sell in your community- you never know what you might find. And if you don’t want to go all the way to a car boot sale, just visit ads’ere.