Dusty birds set to be thrown away in Kenilworth soar to success at auction

They went to auction with a guide price of between £300 and £500 and sold for nearly £1,000

The two Victorian silver novelty owl pepper pots which sold at auction. Photo by Hansons Auctioneers

Two owls plucked from a bric-a-brac box - and destined for a charity shop - have earned their owner an unexpected windfall at an auction in Kenilworth.

The two birds, which are Victorian silver novelty owl pepper pots, sold soared above their estimate to make nearly £1,000 at the auction.

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The dusty birds were spotted by Charles Hanson, TV antiques expert and owner of Hansons Auctioneers, at a free valuation event at St Francis of Assisi Church Hall in Kenilworth.

The back of the two Victorian silver novelty owl pepper pots which sold at auction. Photo by Hansons Auctioneers

Charles said: “The vendor was going to throw them away – or give them away to a charity shop.

"They didn’t think they could be worth anything. But they turned out to be a pair of late Victorian silver novelty pepper pots.

“They were dated 1897 and hallmarked GF, probably standing for silversmith George Fox of London.

The Fox family founded a silversmith company at 139 Old Street, Goswell Street, in 1801 and produced consistently high-quality pieces for several decades.

The feet and engraving on the Victorian owls. Photo by Hansons Auctioneers

“Once the grime was removed from those 125-year-old owls, two realistically-cast figures with glass eyes emerged.

"They went to auction in April with a guide price of £300-£500 but smashed their estimate to reach £850.

"It was a fantastic result for our client and a reminder that being a wise owl pays off, especially when it comes to having items professionally assessed.

“Our experts, including a silver valuer, will be back in Kenilworth in May to assess and consign items to auction.

"Why not come along and share your show-and-tell objects. You may be surprised to learn about their historical significance and decide to sell in a vibrant auction market achieving impressive prices for all kinds of collectors’ items.”

Hansons valuers, including jewellery and silver expert Isabel Murtough, books expert Jim Spencer and coins and medals expert Will Hayward will host a free valuation and auction consignment day at St Francis of Assisi Church Hall in Kenilworth on May 12 from 10am to 4pm.

To find out more, email Carol Jones vat: [email protected]