Clearing out old junk can be a worthwhile exercise. Just ask the woman who handed over a bag of items to Cooper and Tanner Auction House in Standerwick, Somerset. Thinking there was nothing of particular value, the woman instructed the auctioneers to sell the contents, which had been retrieved from her mother-in-law’s home, and hand the proceeds over to charity. Among the items however were two valuable rings, one made by Cartier with a four-carat diamond and another with a blue sapphire. Luckily for the vendor, before they were sold off on the cheap, the rings were spotted by eagle-eyed auctioneer Gareth Wasp. ‘I noticed the Cartier box straight away, but that doesn’t always mean there is going to be a Cartier ring inside’, said Mr Wasp. ‘I looked everywhere for the Cartier signature on the ring because it is normally on the inside, but this was in fact signed on the outside, which is really rare. Then I had a look at this great big diamond in front of me’. As for the second ring with the sapphire, Mr Wasp said, ‘It was beautiful, absolutely stunning and very popular. Behind diamonds they are second in place.’ It seems the woman still wasn’t convinced that the rings were worth much. Mr Wasp added, ‘She kept repeatedly emphasising to me to get rid of it and give it to charity – thinking they weren’t worth anything. I just had to say “I think this is something that needs a little bit more research”.’ Mr Wasp’s hunch was spot on, as the rings were professionally valued at between £15,000 and £20,000. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Mr Wasp picks up the story on the day of the auction, ‘We had just as much interest in both rings with an additional ten telephone bidders on each one…The vendor’s rings went for over £70,000, which isn’t bad for rings…it has been absolutely amazing. It was a great experience and the Sapphire ring was bought by a room buyer for his wife, which I find really nice.’ As for the vendor, ‘when I told her she couldn’t believe it, she was absolutely gobsmacked’, said Mr Wasp. ‘It was great for her and it was great feeling to be able to deliver that…Maybe if people looked in their collection, they would be lucky enough to find a hidden gem as well.’ Sounds like Mr Wasp is positively buzzing with his find.
June 3, 2018