She Purchased a $25 Antique Brooch in 1988. It's Now Worth $19,000


Jan. 5 2024, Published 12:55 p.m. ET

Flora Steel holds up the $25 antique brooch she bought.
Source: Gildings Auctioneers

For those who collect antique jewelry, the goal is often to find unique pieces that appeal to the eye. It’s not necessarily about finding something you can turn around and sell to make a quick buck.

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But for British antique jewelry aficionado Flora Steel, who bought an antique brooch in the 1980s for just $25, she eventually found out that the piece was worth a whole lot more. Here are details on the antique brooch Steel bought that could be worth as much as $19,000.

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Flora Steel purchased an antique brooch in the 1980s, and later realized its worth.

Steel was shopping in a British antique store in 1988 when a silver brooch with coral, lapis lazuli, and malachite stones caught her eye, UPI reported.

"The brooch originally caught my eye for its strong design, strange lettering, and unusual stones," Steel said in a statement released by Gilding's Auctioneers. "I always loved it and thought that it was so particular in its design that sooner or later, I would discover who had designed it."

After watching 'Antiques Roadshow,' she realized her brooch could be worth a lot.

However, it wasn't until about 35 years later that Steel learned that the brooch may be worth more than the $25 she paid. She was watching a clip from a 2011 episode of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow when she noticed her brooch resembled some bridal brooches designed by Victorian Gothic Revival architect William Burges featured on the "Most Wanted Finds" segment of the show, per Gilding's Auctioneers.

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“I've always adored the Antiques Roadshow, so when the clip popped up on my phone, I said to myself, ‘that reminds me of the brooch I found 35 years ago.’ So, I decided to have a better look at the V&A drawing, and lo and behold, there was my brooch! I practically fell off my chair!” Steel said.

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Steel soon found herself on the Antiques Roadshow Christmas Eve special, showing her brooch to expert appraiser Geoffrey Munn. He called it a "breathtaking discovery" and valued the piece between $10,000 and $12,000, according to a press release from Gilding's Auctioneers. Gilding's auctioned off the Burges bridal brooch from the 2011 Antiques Roadshow for three times its appraised value.

The auction house stated that Gilding's will sell Steel's brooch at its Jewelry and Watches auction on March 5, 2024.

"Whether this brooch reaches the heights of the first one we auctioned or indeed results in any more examples being unearthed remains to be seen," said Gilding's director, Will Gilding.

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