Are there hidden gems hidden in your attic?

The most famous story of a hidden antique of value was certainly the Chinese vase that sat on a suburban shelf for decades, only to be discovered it was worth tens of £millions by the deceased persons relative. Indeed, history and our own probate valuations are littered with some incredible finds, the Chinese vase being the most valuable of all, selling at a UK auction for a figure that aligns with a lottery roll over.

“Maybe we all have something of incredible value, or at the very least we have something of considerable value.”

Our role as probate valuers has certainly discovered many hidden gems, and can honestly say, you sometimes find them in the least likely of places. When valuing an estate, we are constantly surprised by what we find in the homes of the deceased. What other gems have been discovered? It would be reasonable to say that every day across the world, something of substantial value is being found in a home. Below are real-life examples of unexpected finds:


  • Centuries ago, an ancestor of one family worked in the vineyards of Cognac. He was regularly paid with bottles of the famous Gautier brand and one such bottle was auction at Sotheby’s fetching an astounding 144,000 US dollars.
  • A woman who was getting ready to sell her house in France discovered she had a priceless painting hanging on her wall. The 13th century masterpiece, painted by Florentine artist Cimabue later sold at auction for a whopping $26.8 million. It fetched four times the asking price.
  • One man found an old Nintendo video game in the attic of his childhood home. It sold for $9,000. It was originally purchase for $38.
  • A family in the UK learned that a chess piece that sat on a shelf in their home for many years was worth $1.2 million. The medieval chess piece was once accompanied by a full set of pieces made of Walrus ivory. One of five pieces that was missing from the set. Apparently, the piece was purchased by a grandfather more than 50 years ago for $6.


At Manor House Clearance, our work as probate valuers in London has certainly turned up some hidden gems. We have discovered items from small pieces of valuable jewellery to highly collectable classic cars, all of which fetched considerable returns for families that lost their loved one. Our probate valuation service for people in London is certainly an important intervention in the process of be questing a deceased persons estate.