A Salisbury auction room has reported that a gold locket estimated to be worth £5,000 went under the hammer for £44,000 at a jewellery sale on 26th January. The reason? It had a provenance which linked it to Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, containing two locks of hair purportedly belonging to the famous lovers.
The provincial auctioneers Woolley and Wallis may have seen modest returns on their sales of antique desks – but they are hardly likely to be complaining. The locket was the most sensational find in a highly successful sale, in which several items sold for well above their estimated price, often reaching five figures.
Nelson memorabilia seems to be popping up all over the place at the moment. Last year, a silver desk set purported to be a gift from Lady Hamilton to Lord Nelson was discovered on an Antiques Roadshow program, valued at £8,000. It will probably sell for far more at auction, judging by the excitement the locket caused.
People buying antique desks at Lancashire auctions are often amazed at the prices of gold jewellery lots. While this is often down to “melt down” value, this was certainly not the case with the Nelson locket, which after furious bidding from phone buyers was finally sold to a London jeweller on behalf of a customer. It was discovered in the antique cabinet of a Portsmouth house, by an Australian couple who inherited the property.
In Lancashire, antique desks can often turn out to harbour treasure trove, especially when inherited. Preston antique dealers will always give you an honest valuation – or pass you on to a jeweller, if appropriate.
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