Last January, Flora Steel learned, with an assist from Antiques Roadshow, that the brooch she had bought decades ago for under $25 was a long-lost 19th-century piece by celebrated Victorian architect William Burges. The brooch went to Gildings auction house in Market Harborough, England, UK, to sell in an upcoming Jewellery & Watches auction. On March 19, the brooch sold for more than £11,000, or about $14,000 in US currency.

This is a familiar story for Gildings. The Antiques Roadshow episode where jewelry specialist Geoffrey Munn showed a sketch of Burges’ brooch designs originally aired in 2011. Munn also discussed how valuable the brooches would be if any were found: about £10,000 ($12,500). That year, two viewers independently realized that they owned brooches that matched the designs. Both sold their brooches through Gildings. One was sold to the Victoria and Albert Museum in a private sale. The other sold for £31,000 ($40,000) at auction.

William Burges (1827-1881) was an architect and designer in the Gothic Revival style. His admiration for medieval art and his travels throughout Europe and Turkey were major influences on his career. His first major commission was Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork, Ireland. Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch, both in Cardiff, Wales, are his best-known buildings. Like many architects, he also designed metalwork and decorative arts.

While it wasn’t as dramatically high a price, Steel’s brooch also sold higher than Munn’s original estimate, but not as dramatically high as the one that sold in 2011. $14,000 is still plenty of money, which Steel plans to divide among donations to a breast cancer research fund, giving to her son and travel for herself.



You may also like:

For Jewelry Enthusiast Flora Steel, Lightning Strikes Thrice!


Leave a Reply

Featured Articles

Skip to toolbar