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$15,000 antique jewellery stash discovered in a secret drawer

A stash of antique jewellery found hidden in a secret drawer has sold for $15,000, after it was accidentally discovered by an auctioneer in the U.K.

The collection was found by auctioneer James Laverack, of the John Taylors auction house in Louth, Lincolnshire.

Whilst inspecting a chest of drawers consigned from the estate of a deceased former owner, he was surprised to find a secret drawer – and even more surprised at what it contained.

“You could just see in the frieze below the top there were a couple of lines, and my first thoughts were maybe there is a secret drawer,” Laverack told the BBC.

“So I opened the top drawer and inside there is a little wooden spring and when you push that up it releases a secret drawer in the centre.

“As I worked it open, I saw these jewellery boxes and I took one out and then another one out, and then another one, and in the end there was possibly 30 of them.

“We are used to finding secret drawers but usually they are quite disappointing, there is an old penny, some stamps, a piece of string inside. This one was quite something else.”

What he discovered was a rare collection of reverse crystal intaglios – pieces of jewellery which use crystal lenses to magnify images beneath them, creating a three-dimensional effect.

They were highly popular during the Late Victoria and Edwardian periods, worn by men and women alike.

Laverack uncovered almost 30 items, most of which featured delicate hand-painted images of animals such as foxes, horses and tigers.

Together the collection fetched a total price of almost £10,000 (approximately $15,000).

The chest of drawers it was found in sold for just £45 ($65).

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