Menu Icon


| Grand Auctions

Best Car Boot Sale Finds

In the news recently was the story of a 26.27 carat cushion cut diamond originally purchased in a Sunday sale in the 1980s for only £10. The owner always presumed it was paste and enjoyed wearing it for 30 years before finally discovering its true worth after visiting a jeweller’s. It sold for the incredible hammer price of £540,000 at Sotheby’s, London on 7th June! In this blog we take a quick look back at a few other, notable car boot sale finds.

Chinese Imperial Beijing enamel vase

In November 2016, auctioneers Wooley & Wallis sold a rare Chinese Imperial Beijing enamel ‘Quail and Millet’ vase for £50,000. The five inch high vase was bought at a car boot sale by an anonymous man from Hampshire who paid only £10 after the object had sat neglected on a stall throughout the day. Originally he placed it on eBay, but after bidding quickly reached £10,000, he decided to seek expert advice from his local saleroom. 

One-off Sean Connery Breitling watch

Originally bought at a car boot sale for only £25, the watch turned out to be a Breitling Top Time, worn in the 1965 Bond film, Thunderball, by Sean Connery. Suspecting that he had bought something special, the anonymous buyer took the watch to be valued and was shocked to have a value of £30,000 - £60,000 placed on it. He was even more surprised when it went on to make £103,875 at one of Christie’s London auctions!

18th century Qianlong-dynasty porcelain vase

And finally, although not strictly a car boot sale find, is this Chinese vase which eventually sold for an incredible £20 million in 2013. The vase was actually discovered in a loft by a lady clearing out the house of her recently deceased parents. Originally valued for £800,000 - £1,200,000, the vase was eventually hammered down by Middlesex auctioneers Bainbridge’s for £43 million in 2010 after thirty minutes of frenzied bidding. Sadly though, the Chinese buyer pulled out after refusing to pay the auctioneer’s commissions and it took years of wrangling before a private sale was finally brokered by Bonhams to another Chinese buyer for an estimated £20 million.

If you have any items you would like to have valued, please contact Simon Rufus of Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.