A sapphire ring found wrapped in a supermarket carrier bag and old socks at a late grandmother’s house, and nearly being thrown in the bin, has sold for £11,000 at auction. Margaret Hood had a secret treasure trove of rare jewellery hidden away at her home which was discovered after she died last October, aged 90.
The pensioner kept the antique items tucked away from relatives and carers and they were only discovered when her family began clearing out her property. Margaret’s son and daughter said they were stunned to uncover the lifetime of possessions squirrelled away all over the house in Littleover, Derby.
The ring was tightly wrapped up in a Sainsbury’s supermarket carrier bag, swathed in socks and left hanging on a porch hook by the door. And as they searched the house further, they went on to find a cache of jewellery so valuable it was dubbed ‘The Littleover Hoard’.
Some of the great-gran’s incredible collection had already fetched £5,410 at auction while the remaining items sold on Monday (March 27) to online bidders for £32,300. The ring sold for £11,000, a pearl necklace for £14,500 and a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings made £6,800 - taking the total price of the haul to £37,710.
Margaret’s daughter Sue Bird, 66, and son Jonathan Hood, 56, said after the sale: "We are just delighted. We are so happy how the sale went – it was very exciting." Sue then explained how they had no idea of their mum’s secret hoard.
She said: "We didn’t know mum had got all this jewellery. She never told us and it was only by chance we found it all. We knew she had inherited some jewellery some decades previously from an old family friend but we had no idea as to the extent.
“She never showed me or my brother and we were gobsmacked when we started to discover all these boxes. When we became aware of the extent of things we started going through everything with a fine tooth comb.
“The sapphire ring was in an orange Sainsbury’s bag wrapped up in a big green rambling sock inside another bag and then wrapped in five pop socks. It was hanging on the wall by the door and we’d all been coming and going, completely oblivious that this stunning ring was literally hidden in plain sight.
“It was after discovering the ring we had to say ‘right, do not throw anything away’. Mum was a lovely lady but I must admit she was the biggest hoarder – she didn’t throw anything away and as the dementia set in she started hiding things around the house.”
Sue said her late mum “used to save everything, even every plastic bag” – after she died we found 316 plastic bags containing greetings cards. She added: “We knew she had a safe having had a single glimpse inside many years ago but of course we didn’t know where the key was.
“We searched and searched and eventually found it concealed in the CD rack behind 300 CDs. When we finally opened the safe we found lots more treasures including the sapphire earrings as well as the empty box for the sapphire ring.”