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An 18th century furniture catalogue featuring Thomas Chippendale pieces that was donated to a charity shop has sold at auction for 15 times more than its guide price.
The old book of furniture design illustrations was donated to Ashgate Hospice’s Donation Centre at Hasland earlier this year.
Inside it features printed illustrations of the work of Thomas Chippendale, the world-famous cabinet maker who has been dubbed the ‘Shakespeare of furniture design’.
Although experts expected it to sell for between £40 and £80, the 137-page catalogue made £1,250 at Sheffield Auction Gallery.
The full amount will help fund palliative and end of life care for patients and families across North Derbyshire.
Tracie Holocuk, who was working as shop manager at the Alfreton shop when she made the discovery before highlighting it to the ecommerce team, said: “The pages came in from our Donation Centre when I was working at the Alfreton shop earlier this year.
“I kept moving them about and looking at them; I just thought they were beautiful and was wondering what we could do with them.
“They were filled with illustrations of gorgeous pieces of furniture. My mum and dad were antique dealers growing up, so I knew it looked like something special. I just wasn’t sure if they were copies or not!
“To hear it’s the highest single item to sell at auction this year is just remarkable. It just shows that things that might be meaningless to some people can be absolutely treasured by others!”
The catalogue features hundreds of illustrations of wardrobes, beds, cabinets and more designed by Thomas Chippendale, who was born in West Yorkshire in 1718.
People, likely of the aristocracy, would have browsed through the catalogue and commissioned Mr Chippendale to make pieces for them.
His work has sold for huge amounts of money in recent years, including in 2010 when a carved commode went for more than £3.8 million – making it the most expensive piece of English furniture in history.
Because of its poor condition, the auction house was surprised that the piece sold for such a high amount.
Kevin Marshall, Ecommerce Assistant at the hospice, added: “This is a tale of not judging a book by its cover – given the catalogue had just fallen apart into pieces of paper. It was in poor condition.
“We also expected them to be a copy but sent them off to Sheffield Auction Gallery; with thanks to their team, they’ve managed to sell for £1,250!
“We’re very grateful to the gallery for their support in auctioning our items fee free, which means every penny goes towards funding our vital care.”
Find out where your local Ashgate Hospice charity shop is.