A battered storage box a man bought for $14 at a flea market is set to fetch thousands of dollars, after it turns out to be a rare piece of Louis Vuitton steamer luggage.
The man snatches the vintage luggage in 1984 for pocket money, which he then gives to his daughter who is moving into an apartment.
He paid £12 ($14) for luggage from the village flea market in St. Margarets, a suburb of London, England.
The girl, referred to only by her first name Melissa, stored sheets and linens in the trunk for years before realizing its true value.
She won with the British version of Antiques tour last year and I was amazed to learn that it was worth thousands.
Melissa, 56, is now selling the century-old piece of luggage, which is expected to fetch up to £6,000 ($7,200) at auction, to protect it from her rescue cats.
The estates officer, who lives in Middlesex, England, said: “We are adopting cats and I have to keep the trunk covered at all times to stop them using it as a scratching post.
“My father bought the trunk in 1984 from an old antique shop in the village of St. Margarets, near Twickenham in London, where we lived.
“He got a job up north but I didn’t want to go. He bought me the trunk to use because there was a lack of storage in my first apartment.
“I put linen in it. I’ve always used it, but over time I’ve noticed the Louis Vuitton name coming up more and more on TV shows about antiques.
“I realized this might be useful. Last year I emailed Antiques tour to get an estimate and they asked me to bring it to the salon.
“I was quite surprised. Everyone who knows me was laughing because I don’t like being photographed, let alone being on TV.
“I went to the event at Ham House in Richmond upon Thames and their appraiser valued it at £3,000-5,000 ($3,600-$6,000).”
Designer luggage, which is over 100 years old, is potentially worth even more.
It will be offered at auction by Hansons London on July 30 with a guide price of £4,000-£6,000 ($4,800-$7,200).
Inside is a copy of The Guardian newspaper that shows the date Melissa’s father bought it, September 3, 1984.
Melissa said: “The trunk has been authenticated by Louis Vuitton.
“According to the serial number on the trunk, it was originally sold between 1909 and 1914.
“I’ve always cared for it, but now I think it’s time for someone else to own it and enjoy it.”
The trunk will go under the hammer at Hansons London on Saturday 30 July.
Produced in collaboration with SWNS.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.