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105-year-old handbag found in tip is worth thousands.

Byline: KELLY WILLIAMS Reporter kelly.williams@walesonline.co.uk

It was found during a garage clearup and was earmarked for the tip. It was only when sisters Linda and Margaret Pritchard asked an optician to check it for a hallmark that they found out it was a 105-year-old art deco evening bag made entirely out of gold.

And it's now set to fetch thousands of pounds when it goes up for auction next month.

The bag was languishing in 61-yearold Linda's garage and is expected to sell for more than PS3,000.

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It was inherited Margaret from ed by 59-year-old Marm Gwyn Jones, a man she used to help care for.

Margaret said: "I kept Mr Jones' things in Linda's garage because I didn't know what to do with them.

"They were someone's personal items. They were there for a number of years until Linda wanted to clear out the garage.

"One day we went to sort it out and, as things were a bit damp, I started to throw things in the bin.

"We came across the bag and I just thought we would never use this so said to Linda 'get rid.'.

"But she kept it. I never gave it a second thought. But later that night, I thought 'why would Mr Jones keep this, the only thing left from his wife?'" Linda added: "Margaret thought the bag was junk but I wasn't so sure.

"I haven't got very good eyesight so I took it to my optician, Saunders & Schwarz in Denbigh, and said 'Can you do me a favour, can you see if there's a hallmark?' "I thought he could look at it with his magnifying equipment. He told me it was 15 carat American gold."

Linda was flabbergasted.

Not only is the chainmail bag entirely made of gold, it's an art deco Emanuel Joseph bag dated to 1913.

It was found tucked away amid atmospheric images of life aboard RMS Elizabeth and RMS Queen Mary in the 1940s and 50s.

It's now due to be sold by Derbyshire's Hansons Auctioneers in October with an estimate of PS3,500-PS3,800.

Jane Williams, valuer for Hansons in Wales, who the sisters later turned to for advice, said: "We know from all the paperwork and images found with the bag that it belonged to Dora Jones, a wealthy socialite once married to David Archibald, of Birkdale, Southport.

"David, general secretary of the North Atlantic British Liner Committee, received an OBE in 1948 for services to the shipping industry.

"The bag comes with amazing provenance including numerous photos of the couple aboard RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth, which is why we believe it may have been used on glamorous journeys between Southampton and New York where the cruise ships operated.

"The provenance includes letters of congratulation on Mr Archibald's OBE and, sadly, letters of condolence. He died suddenly, aged 61, in 1963 after his car was in collision with a keep-left sign.

"A newspaper cutting reveals he had a heart attack at the wheel.

"All the letters and pictures of happy times aboard RMS Queen Mary, which operated from 1936 to 1967, and RMS Queen Elizabeth, which entered service as an ocean liner in 1946, were treasured by Dora, who later remarried."

Linda said: "Dora married Mr Jones, who used to be the attendance officer at our school. Later Margaret became a care worker for him and got to know the couple well.

"Eventually Dora died and then, about eight years ago, Mr Jones, passed away. It was his wishes that everything in the house was left to my sister."

The sisters are intrigued by the bag's glamorous history.

"We grew up in a council house where money was very, very tight," said Linda.

"Our father was crippled by arthritis. We were very poor and never had anything. When you look though the photos and menus from the cruise ships you see how the other half lived, the rich and famous."

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: "It's a wonderful find and a wonderful story.

"Collectors around the world would love to own this bag and, who knows, it may even end up back on a luxury cruise ship, gracing the arm of a society lady."

The gold evening bag will be sold at Hansons' fine art jewellery auction on October 10.

| To find out more, email jwilliams@hansonsauctioneers.co.uk or call 01283 733 988.

CAPTION(S):

<B Dora and David Archibald on the Queen Mary

<B The bag is made entirely of gold

<B Hansons valuer Jane Williams with the bag Hansons Auctioneers
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 21, 2018
Words:772
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