A FORMER Belper woman was left open-mouthed when she discovered that a brooch she was going to sell for £10 may actually be worth £10,000.
Jill Cousins, 68, was watching the Antiques Roadshow on television when she saw jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn produce a sketch of a brooch as the item he would most like to find.
Mrs Cousins, who now lives in Great Bowden, Leicestershire, recognised it as the brooch she had pulled out from the bottom 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. Fortunately, she had forgotten to take it to the market and only remembered about it when she saw the design on TV.
“For a second I just sat there with my mouth open,” said Jill, who was born in Belper.
“Then I ran upstairs and got the brooch to compare it to the one on the television.”
The brooch was given to Jill’s mother, May Wigley, in 1970 by Florence Calder, a former teacher of some distinction in Belper.
Miss Calder was a close friend of Jill’s mother. She also taught Jill at the private Bridge House School, in Belper.
Jill, who has never worn the brooch, said: “Miss Calder gave it to my mother a year before she died.
“No-one thought it had any value to it at all. I literally was going to sell it for £10 two days before I saw it on television.
“It is very small, about as big as a half-crown piece. But it is quite heavy, which is probably why I have never worn it.”
Miss Calder taught Jill from the age of three to eight.In fact, she taught three generations of Jill’s family.
Jill remembered Miss Calder as “a fantastic lady” and “an incredible teacher”.
The brooch was designed by Victorian architect William Burges. Mr Munn was seen to visibly tremble when he saw the piece when Jill later took it on to the Antiques Roadshow herself.
Jill, who used to live on Edward Street and Beaurepaire Crescent, in Belper, said: “He was incredibly excited. He said he had been searching for this brooch for many, many years. He didn’t think any of them had been made.”
Mr Munn described seeing the brooch as his very own Tutankhamun experience.
But Jill, who moved to Leicestershire in 1970, wasn’t allowing herself to get too excited yet. She said: “It might not sell!”
The brooch will go on sale at Gildings auctioneers, in Market Harborough, on Tuesday, August 2.