A FORMER Belper woman who almost sold a brooch for £10 is celebrating after it fetched a staggering £31,000 at auction.
Jill Cousins, 68, admitted she was left in a state of shock after the brooch went for more than six times its reserve price of £5,000 at Gildings auctioneers in Market Harborough.
The amazing story started when Jill, who now lives in Great Bowden, Leicestershire, was watching the Antiques Roadshow on television.
She saw jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn produce a sketch of a brooch he was desperately seeking.
Jill recognised it as a brooch she had pulled out of her jewellery box just two days before.
She had planned to sell it at Harborough Market and had hoped to get £10 for it.
But now, following a dramatic sale, a private buyer over the telephone from London has snapped up the brooch for exactly £31,000 — leaving Jill dumbfounded.
She said: “It is fantastic news, but I am in a state of shock. We did not expect anything like that.
“Five thousand was the reserve price and we did not even expect it to reach that.”
Jill, who was born in Belper and used to live on Edward Street and Beaurepaire Crescent, watched the auction from a back room at the auctioneers, not quite believing what she was seeing as the price kept on going up.
She admitted: “I said this was a dream and I said please do not wake me up.
“I wasn’t really with it at the time. “The auction briefly stopped with the price at £12,000 and I thought that was a magnificent amount.”
Jill, who moved to Leicestershire in 1970, says she has been overwhelmed with the warmth by which people have greeted the news.
“A very nice Czech lady and her husband were bidding for the brooch in the room,” said Jill. “She didn’t buy it but she came into see me afterwards and put her arms round me and said how pleased she was for me.
“People in the sale room burst into cheers and applause. I keep getting stopped in the town and hugged by people.
“I cannot believe it all. It is very dream like. It has not actually registered with me at all yet.”
Jill said she wasn’t sure what she would spend the cash on, but added: “It is going to come in handy.”
But Jill’s happiness was still tinged with a feeling of dread.
She said: “I do feel a bit sick when I think about the fact I nearly sold it for £10.”