Bought at €22, William Burges Brooch is Likely to Sell at €17,000

The brooch was designed by Victorian architect and artist William Burges. Gildings Auctioneers

A brooch bought at €22 over 30 years ago was regarded as any other brooch until it was recently revealed at an “Antiques Roadshow” as a William Burges masterpiece.

The brooch, designed by a “Victorian-era Gothic Revival” designer, William Burges, was purchased by Flora Steel at an English antique market in 1988.

She stumbled on a 2011 clip of BBC’s “Antique Roadshow” in which jewelry expert Geoffrey Munn was presenting a page of sketches from London’s V&A Museum. Lo and behold, there was a replica of her brooch revealed to be designed by Burges.

Steel immediately placed a call to Gildings Auction House and the brooch is now projected to sell at €17,000.

“When the clip popped up on my phone, I said to myself, ‘That reminds me of the brooch I found 35 years ago’. 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 in a statement.

Steel also defended her decision to buy the brooch from the antique shop saying “The brooch originally caught my eye for its strong design, strange lettering and unusual stones. 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.”

It is worth noting that Flora Steel is the third viewer of the “Antique Roadshow” to show up with a William Burges brooch. In 2011, a pensioner, Jill Cousins chanced on the “Antique Roadshow” when she was on the verge of selling her brooch from the same designer for  €13. She took the brooch to Gildings and made over €35,000. The second person is a viewer who watched the clip in 2011 too. Her brooch was sold privately to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Gildings is, however, hopeful about the outcome of the auction. Its director, Will Gilding describes as baffling the number of William Burges brooches that have emerged from the “Antique Roadshow”.

“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,” Gilding says. “As a fascinating piece with an even more intriguing backstory, we’re honored to be playing a part in its continued history.”

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