Historic gold box nets record price from mystery buyer at Stowmarket auctioneers

The historic Dutch gold box that secured a record price at a Stowmarket auctioneers.
The historic Dutch gold box that secured a record price at a Stowmarket auctioneers.

An auctioneers is celebrating a record sale after an historic gold box attracted interest from around the world.

The tiny Dutch 18th century gold box - lot 454 - was eventually bought by a mystery buyer from Monaco for £51,000.

Bishop & Miller managing director Oliver Miller.

Bishop & Miller managing director Oliver Miller.

But it had been entered at the auction with an estimate of just £2,000 to £3,000.

Yet the opening bid on auction day came straight in at £8,500.

It was sold at Stowmarket-based Bishop & Miller Auctioneers during a fine art and antiques sale on Saturday.

The gold box, made in Amsterdam by Jean Saint, who lived from 1698 to 1769, measured just 5.5cm wide by 4.5cm deep and was just two centimetres high. It weighed 71.4 grams.

The quality of this item was outstanding.

Oliver Miller, managing director

Bishop & Miller managing director Oliver Miller said: “When I saw this item on the valuation day, I knew it was something special.

“The quality of this item was outstanding.”

Mr Miller said the box had first turned up at a valuation day when the vendor, who has not been named, arrived with a number of items.

He said: “All the items were of interest, however at the last minute out came this little gold box.

“As soon as I held it I knew it was gold.”

Interest in the gold box surged during the days leading up to the auction.

Mr Miller said: “There was interest from all over the world.

“On auction day we had eight phone lines booked on the item and there was a bidder in the room who had come from Holland just for the box.”

When it was time for the lot to go under the hammer, the room came to a standstill.

Mr Miller said: “The opening bid was £8,500 and everyone gasped. The bids then went up by thousands quite rapidly.

“All of a sudden the bid was sitting at £21,000 when one of the phone bidders shouted out £30,000.

“The final bid came from the internet with a £51,000 price tag.

“The new home for the box will be in Monaco.”

Mr Miller said the final price was a house record - the previous record was £23,000.

He added: “This exciting auction also marks our first anniversary for us for a new auction house.”