10 pieces of “junk” you won't believe are worth a fortune

Do you fancy yourself as a collector, or are you more of a clear-out addict? Donations to BHF shops help us to raise vital funds, and some of the quirkier or more valuable items get sold on our Ebay shop. Here are 10 items which you might be surprised to hear all made more than £100 for our lifesaving work on the online auction site.

1. A brass corkscrew

Rodgers and sons brass corkscrew

This Rodgers and Son brass corkscrew was donated to our shop in Wilmslow, Cheshire, and sold on Ebay for £260. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s antique (and made in Sheffield). Older corkscrews often had stiff bristles on one end of the corkscrew. These dusting brushes were used to remove debris from wax, which was used in the past to help seal the bottle, or any dust or mould that might have collected on the cork.

2. A tin of custard powder

A tin of custard powder

This Home and Colonial Stores tin of custard powder was described as “a little rusty with a fair amount of wear due to age” – but it still fetched £107. We presume the buyer won’t be putting the contents on his apple crumble.

3. Creepy crawlies

Real bugs insects

Most of us would pay not to have spiders, cockroaches, centipedes and the like in the house – but some people love to collect them. These bugs in plastic resin were given away with Real Life Bugs and Insects magazine, one with each issue. This was the complete collection of 69 items, and it sold for £205.

4. Rupert annual

1936 rupert annual

Childhood memories are priceless – and this Rupert annual sold for £255. Chances are that the buyer wasn’t simply nostalgic for his childhood. Old Rupert annuals are valuable, and 1936 was the year of the first Rupert annual.

The buyer of this probably got a bargain – in good condition, you can buy 1936 annuals for more than £600 or even up to £2,000.

Since 1936, the annual has been published every year without fail – even during wartime, when special permission was given by Government to continue printing when there was a paper shortage.

The rarest Rupert annual, incidentally, is from 1942.

5. Nurse Nan doll

Nurse Nan Doll

More proof of the power of childhood nostalgia. This Nurse Nan doll from 1955 sold for £329.99. It was described as used, with wear to the box but “in excellent condition for age. Missing accessories”. This 19in hard plastic doll, made by Pedigree, was by no means the earliest doll in nurse’s uniform – they have been around since at least the 1930s.

6. A horse-drawn plough (horse not included)

A horse-drawn plough

We're slightly baffled by this one, too. We're not sure that you could do any actual ploughing with it, though it was described as "in very good to excellent condition for age". The listing on our Ebay shop said: "Just imagine having a plough in your house and inviting people and say "Yes, I have a plough..."

Postage would have been rather probitive, so this was sold as for collection only. It sold for £155 to a buyer who picked it up from our Camberley Furniture and electrical store.

7. Brass coat of arms

Brass coat of arms

This royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom sold for £126. Only the Queen is allowed to actually use this coat of arms, but we suppose there’s nothing to stop you putting it on your wall.

8. Brass cornet

Distin and Co Cornet 1953

This Distin and Co cornet looks like it’s seen better days, but it does date from the 19th century. John Distin was a professional musician who set up one of the best known British cornet manufacturers of his time. The cornet is an instrument very similar to the trumpet, developed around 1820. This one is the most valuable item on our list – it sold for a massive £1953.

9. Bronze bust

Bronze bust

This bronze bust of a woman, by the Austrian art nouveau sculptor Hans Muller, sold for £260.

10. 1948 Australian cricket team photo

Signed 1948 Australian Ashes cricket team

This signed photo of the 1948 Ashes side was donated to our Watford shop by a woman who told us that her grandfather was an Australian who had been a keen cricket fan as well as a supporter of the British Heart Foundation. We don’t always sell items like framed photos overseas because of high postage costs, but this sale was opened up to overseas bidders. Not surprisingly, it sold to someone in Australia - for £988.

You might not be surprised to learn that Australia won the Ashes in 1948. In fact, that team were known as the Invincibles and were the first Test match side to play an entire tour of England without losing a match.

  • Visit our online Ebay shop.
  • Read our feature about how our Ebay warehouse supports our lifesaving work.
  • Got something to donate to us? Find your nearest BHF shop.

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