Finding your hidden valuables

Just one of the 59 cars, a vintage Ferrari California Spyder, sold for an incredible £11.8m after spending decades hidden under old newspapers.

Granted, it isn’t often that windfalls of such magnitude will be found. However, you may be surprised to discover your own treasure in the most unlikely of places. Outbuildings are typically used to store objects for years, with little or no research done into their value. 

Machinery, old and new

An old, disused cider press may seem ready for the scrapyard, but people are finding new uses for antique farming equipment – both as functional kit, or as ornaments. They can sell for around £1,100 at auction. Millstones, which were a fairly common sight in much of the UK, can sell for as much as £650 at reclamation yards as garden ornaments.

Agricultural machinery tucked away in the back of your barn that is still in working order is likely to be of interest to traders. Second-hand farm machinery is widely traded in the UK – a resold tractor, for example, can be priced at upwards of £1,400. So if you have unwanted equipment in your barn, it may be a good time to find out if it’s working and see how much it’s worth.

Fixtures and fittings

The remnants of a house refit many decades ago may now be highly sought after. Old fire surrounds or vintage tiles, or even gates and fences, can fetch a tidy sum.

Old sinks and troughs are often sought after as flower planters in gardens. Belfast sinks are also having a resurgence, and typically worth £300.

In 2013, a couple in Northumberland found that the stone trough they were using as a flowerbed in their garden was, in fact, a Roman sarcophagus worth £100,000, which had been there since they bought their house more than 30 years before.

Cars and bikes

The story at the top of this article will tell you just how much cars can be worth. Motorbikes that might look nondescript to the untrained eye can turn out to be worth a great deal of money, too.

In January, a collection of eight Brough Superior motorbikes – vintage bikes with iconic status – were found rusting in a barn in Cornwall, where they’d been sitting idle for 50 years. Despite their poor state of repair, the bikes are expected to sell for upwards of £3m when they go to auction.

What should I do?

The best thing to do is to make sure that any items you do find are covered and valued properly, by an expert.

You may not know it, but there could be a fortune resting in your storage space in the form of your old possessions