The owner of a chair that sold for almost £14k considered dumping it before he knew its worth
The man, who has not been named, had been passed the chair through his family but it had been sitting in storage for a couple of years when he decided it was time to throw it away.
An auctioneer initially told him the Victorian armchair could be worth about £100, but both he and the auctioneers were shocked when it sold for 139 times that amount because it is believed to have been made by a giant of Victorian design – Dr Christopher Dresser.
Dresser was one of the world's first industrial designers and he created functional yet beautiful furniture, glass, ceramics and wallpaper in the 19th century.
Nick Jarrett, auctioneer at Andrew Smith & Son in Itchen Stoke, Hampshire, initially gave the chair an estimate of £80-120, but he then did some further research that led him to believe it was made by Dresser.
The auctioneers believed it was a Christopher Dresser piece
The chair was made in about 1875 and is in wholly original condition. It has some key features that attribute it to Dresser, including the ebonised and gilt decoration of Vitruvian scrolls, eight-pointed stars, Greek-key pattern and other geometric motifs.
He was en route to the tip when he decided to bring it to us
On the day of the auction bidding started at £1,000 with bidders in the room, on the telephone and online.
It eventually sold to a UK collector on the phone for £11,400 hammer price, or £13,900 including fees.
Catherine Hockley from Andrew Smith & Son said: "The chair had originally belonged to the owner's grandfather and he had been given it by his father to look after.
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"After a while he got fed up of having it in his house and it went into a lock-up but he said he kept tripping over it whenever he went there so he asked his father if he could get rid of it.
"He was en route to the tip when he decided to bring it to us to see if it was worth anything. Our auctioneer Nick Jarrett looked at it and told him it would certainly be worth popping into auction.
"It was only after we got a few enquiries that he decided to research it a bit more.
The chair was made in about 1875 and is in wholly original condition
"There are things that tell us it's a Christopher Dresser piece – stylistic influences, the motif and giltwork. When you look at pattern books you can see it's definitely his style.
"We were very surprised when it sold for so much. We check comparables before an auction and we were thinking it would make about £2-3,000.
"The seller was very happy. We couldn't get hold of him so sent an email and when he saw it he called to say he was shaking he was so excited.
"I don't know what his plans are for the money, but it's a significant sum for him."