Why Home Insurance can be key? What lurks within…

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Seven Shed Treasures

On average, we have £2000 worth of stuff stashed in our sheds, but what if, hidden at the back behind the barbecue and beneath the cobwebs, you have a real treasure waiting to be found? Here are six lucky shed-keepers who found treasure in the shed – and one not so lucky.

1. Good Sir Gordon

A Scottish Highland’s councillor visited a council lock-up in Balintore to find the door helpfully held open by a bust of Highland laird Sir John Gordon. Recognising quality when she saw it the councillor had the bust valued; Sir Gordon was in fact a sculpture by 18th century French artist Edme Bouchardon worth £1.4 million – possibly the world’s most expensive doorstop. The Scottish Laird was rescued from the shed and went on tour, visiting the Louvre and the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles before returning home to Inverness.

2. Prototype Porsche

The catchily named Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton was found mouldering in a shed in Austria. It was discovered that the Phaeton was the first car made by Ferdinand Porsche. It may not look like the Porsches we know – but it is 119 years old. The car first took to the streets of Vienna in 1898 and could manage a stately 22 miles per hour. The car was housed in a shed and forgotten; it remained untouched for 112 years. The value of the car seems to be a secret, but if you fancy buying a Porsche for someone to find a century from now it will cost upwards of £40,000.

3. Mysterious Triptych.

Rummaging around in the shed behind his parochial house in Piercetown, County Wexham, Father John O’Reilly found a rather ostentatious piece of artwork, unimpressed he threw it in a skip. Later, he thankfully had a change of heart and decided to have the piece looked at – it was a Flemish triptych worth €120,000. How the triptych got itself to County Wexford is a mystery. Or maybe a miracle.

4. Bucolic cows

When a man from Norfolk arrived at Bonham’s auction house to see if any of the paintings stashed in his shed were worth anything, he was in luck. A watercolour of grazing cows was recognised as a lost work by East Anglian artist Sir Alfred Munnings. The painting was valued at £12,000.

5. Nazi art hoard

After burglars made an attempt on their home in Szczecin, Poland, Antoni M’s unwitting wife called the police. Taking a look round, the police were stunned to find a collection of over 300 paintings missing since the Second World War. Unable to speak following a stroke, Antoni, aged 92, was unable to explain how he came by the paintings, probably stolen during the war and worth several million Euros. Antoni was charged with handling stolen goods. 

6. Queensland Quadrant

The prettiest item on our list of shed treasures is a brass hororary quadrant. Yes one of those.  Dating from the fourteenth century the fan-shaped timepiece was engraved with a commendation to Richard II and is Britain’s second-oldest scientific instrument. The owner, Christopher Becker, remembered finding the quadrant in a bag of pipe fittings in his father’s shed in Queensland as a child – he and his brothers used to use it as a ramp for their toy cars. The quadrant sat on a shelf for several years as a piece of childhood nostalgia before Christopher decided to have it valued. It was worth between £150,000 and £200,000.

7. Classic Cars

And the winner of lucrative shed finds - a newly retired couple from New York. The lucky pair bought a Portuguese farmhouse and a bit of land for peanuts - the house’s worth perhaps brought down by an unsightly outbuilding. Once they were all moved in the husband decided to take a look inside; he found a collection of classic cars worth $35,000,000. The collection included a Porsche 356, a Lotus Elan and a Giuleietta Sprint. As the previous owner had died without heirs the bemused New Yorker and his wife had full claim to the lot. A very happy retirement indeed.