A most valuable flea-market find

A brooch found at a flea that sold for over 200 times its original price is inspiring our antiques hunting this month


Don’t let the dreary weather put you off antiques hunting this weekend. A rare brooch recently proved that rifling through flea-market stalls is worth the effort when it was sold at auction for an incredible £10,800, having been bought for just £38 in August.


Hidden in a box of costume jewellery, no one had noticed the ‘Cartier of London’ engraving on the brooch’s side.

It transpired that the brooch was a Cartier art deco ‘Tutti-Frutti’ jabot brooch set with a central carved ruby and interlinked with emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. In September the buyer took it to Hanson’s Auctioneers, Derbyshire, who gave it an £8,000 estimate.

‘The brooch was a fascinating find and a real rarity to uncover,’ said Hanson’s head of jewellery Isabel Murtough. ‘It just goes to show what can still be found at jumble sales, flea markets and even car boot sales. Although bargains may not be so frequent today, exciting finds are still out there.’


Given Cartier’s vivid history (King Edward VII referred to Cartier as ‘the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers’), it was no surprise that collectors from Paris, the USA and the United Arab Emirates all showed interest in owning the vibrant 1930s jewel. The successful bidder – who paid 284 times more than the original price when the brooch was sold on 26th September – chose to remain anonymous.

With this fairy tale result in mind, we’re heading out to antiques fairs with gusto this month. Here’s our pick of the five best to get you started.

14th-16th November – Shepton Mallet Antique and Collectors Fair, Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 6QN. Opening times vary. £10 (Fri), £5 (Sat & Sun). 01636 702326; iacf.co.uk

15th November – Norwich Flea Market, St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ Halls, St Andrew’s Street, Norwich, NR3 1AU. 9.30am-4.30pm. £2. 01603 630763;

21st-22nd November – The Little Christmas Fair at the Barn, Lark Rise, Lambdens Hill, Beenham, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 5LG. 10am-4pm. Free. 07786 264813; fairinthebarn.wordpress.com

22nd-23rd November – Edinburgh Antiques & Collectors Fair, The Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh, EH28 8NB. Sat 8.15am-4.30pm, Sun 10am-4pm. £4 (£5 before 10am on Sat). 01636 676531; b2bevents.info


29th November – The Birmingham Vintage Kilo Sale, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA. 11am-4pm. £1-£3. judysvintagefair.co.uk