50p beads fetch £4,200 as China embraces amber

editorial image

An amber necklace picked up for pennies proved a real turn up for the books when it was valued at Central Milton Keynes library.

The unassuming beads, bought for less than 50p, were knocked down to a Chinese buyer for a whopping £4,200 when they were sold at auction.

The delighted owner, a woman in her sixties, took the vintage necklace along to a free valuation day run by J P Humbert auctioneers.

“It was among a small collection of costume jewellery that had once belonged to the lady’s late mother. She had no idea whatsoever of its value,” said Jonathan Humbert.

“In her own words, she was gobsmacked and in tears of joy when I told her.”

Now Mr Humbert is urging other city residents to rummage through their drawers and jewellery boxes in a quest for unexpected valuables.

He said: “I would never urge anybody to part with anything that is of sentimental value – but there are bound to be other unassuming pieces such as this necklace .

“These pieces were probably worth a few shillings when they were first bought but now fetch a surprising amount of money at auction.”

Amber is particularly collectable at the moment and worth more per ounce than 18 carat gold, said Mr Humbert.

Another visitor to the valuation had a pleasant surprise when she handed in a bag of scrap ‘brass’ jewellery, including ear ring claps and broken brooches. It was actually solid gold and sold for £400.

The next Antiques Roadshow-style session at the library is on Friday, July 4 between 10am and 1pm. No appointments are necessary.