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A British Woman Bought a Brooch for 20 Pounds. It Sold for Nearly £10,000.

WorldEuropeA British Woman Bought a Brooch for 20 Pounds. It Sold for Nearly £10,000.

Flora Steel, an art historian, bought a silver brooch more than three decades ago at an antique fair in the English Midlands for about 20 pounds, or about $35 at the time. After wearing it on the lapel of one of her favorite coats for several years, she put it away in a closet, where it went untouched for two decades.

That was until last year, when Ms. Steel was scrolling through YouTube on her phone and came across a 2011 BBC story about a brooch being presented on the television show “Antiques Roadshow.” In the clip, the presenter Geoffrey Munn showed a page with sketches of other brooches designed by the same Victorian-era architect and artist.

“I thought, ‘Heavens, that’s mine!’” Ms. Steel said.

Mr. Munn said on the show that he dreamed of finding brooches designed by the artist, William Burges, calling his jewelry the “almost-holy grail of Victorian 19th century design.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Steel’s brooch sold for £9,500 (about $12,000) to a private collector at Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough, England. It is made of silver, lapis lazuli, malachite and pink coral.

“It caught my eye for its incredible design — its beautiful use of stones,” said Ms. Steel, who has collected silver jewelry since she was 13 years old.

Ms. Steel was the third person to sell a William Burges brooch by auction through Gildings; the other two also realized their brooches’ value after watching “Antiques Roadshow.” One of the brooches sold for £31,000 in 2011 (about $50,000 at the time).

Burges, who is best known for designing Cardiff Castle in Wales, made the brooches for the weddings of two friends in 1864, Gildings said, citing annotations on the original sketches of the brooches, which are stored at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Ms. Steel’s brooch, which has a Victorian Gothic aesthetic, is inscribed with the initials “JCG,” the initials of the Rev. John Gibson, a cleric-scholar, and Caroline Bendyshe, a great-niece of Admiral Lord Nelson.

“If those pages of sketches hadn’t survived, the association with the designer would have been completely lost to the annals of history,” said Will Gilding, a director at Gildings.

Ms. Steel, who is from Britain but lives in Rome, said her delight in discovering that she owned a long-lost, treasured brooch brought her much-needed joy after two years of treatment for breast cancer.

After successful treatment, she said that she was planning to donate some of the money to a breast cancer research fund and give some to her son. She was also contemplating setting some aside for herself for a five-day horseback riding trip through Tuscany, Italy, and for a visit to the San Carlo opera house in Naples.

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