19th century artefacts dumped in skip sell for £6.5k

A collection of 19th century native and tribal artefacts that had been consigned to a skip has been sold at Cottees Auctions of Wareham for a total of £6,600.

The items which arrived at the saleroom in two cardboard boxes had been retrieved from a skip several years ago by the vendor and had been moved around from house to house ever since, usually being consigned to the attic.

With another move in prospect they decided it was time to dispose of the items, but not in a skip this time.

A small Matabele wooden tribal pillow (£800)

Auctioneer John Condie was enthralled by the find: "It appears that all the items had been collected by a 19th century missionary who had extensively travelled in Africa, China and The South Seas.

"They varied from African ladies and children's necklets and anklets which had been given to the man in lieu of collection monies to a witch doctor's necklace, a wooden doll which fetched the top price of £1,380 and a small Matabele wooden tribal pillow which sold for £800.

"When the vendor was told after the sale how much everything had sold for they were extremely surprised. She told me that she had hoped for between £50 and £100 for the lot!" said John Condie.

The binned ephemera has lain dormant in boxes and various attics for years

Other highlights from the sale which was the first that the auction house had held "live online" were £2,500 for a pencil and watercolour sketch of a pony by Kyffin Williams and £1,800 for an oil on board by Laura Alma-Tadema entitled 'Poppies'.

One surprise result in the sale was a collection of items relating to the Suffragette and Society for Equal Citizenship Movement which consisted of photographs, letters and other related material. Estimated at £100-150, the box of items sold for a staggering £1,600.

"The highest prices are often archived by items that people would otherwise have thrown away. Ephemera is a strong collecting area no matter in what field," said Mr Condie.


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