Woman discovers antique worth £1.2m ‘tucked away in the back of a drawer’

Woman discovers antique worth £1.2m ‘tucked away in the back of a drawer’

A rare 16th Century plate by Italian artist Nicola da Urbino was found in a country house in Scotland and has sold for more than £1m at auction, after originally being valued at £80,000

A rare dish discovered in the back of a drawer in a Scottish country home has sold for over £1m at auction – ten times what it was predicted to fetch.

The 16th century plate bearing a biblical scene by Italian artist Nicola da Urbino went under the hammer this week.

The maiolica work, which featured the tale of Samson and Delilah, was expected to reach between £80,000 and £120,000.

But experts were stunned when the bidding closed at over ten times that value.

The winning offer of $1.7m (£1.2m) came from an anonymous buyer.

The artifact was one of more than 400 items listed as part of the contents of Lowood House, situated in the Scottish Borders.

It dish was said to have been forgotten about having been left in the back of a drawer before being found by a woman – and wasn’t on display in the grand home.

Auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull also sold pictures, furniture, books, silver and works of art from the country home.

Gavin Strang, managing director with the auctioneers, said it was “unprecedented” for an item from such an early period to come to the market.

“As the auctioneer, it was a real joy to bring the hammer down at over £1m on this incredibly rare dish – a new world record price I believe,” he said.

“The whole story of its discovery tucked away in a drawer, through the meticulous research carried out by our specialists, and then fierce international bidding on auction day has been exciting from beginning to end.”

Things got tense as the bidding went on and on and the antique expert says it was a joy to watch.

“When something as unique as this appears on the market it really just depends on who has the most nerve or the deepest pockets.”