Chatsworth attic sale raises £6.5m
A three-day "attic sale" of items deemed surplus to requirements at one of the country's most famous stately homes raised almost £6.5 million, auctioneers said.
The sell-off at the Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire, held in a 20,000 sq ft marquee and organised by Sotheby's, had been expected to bring in around £2.5 million.
Among the latest items to exceed auctioneers' expectations were a touring car dating back to 1915, which fetched £42,500, a pinball machine, and a perambulator which sold for £250 despite having a estimate of just £10-15.
Sotheby's described the sale - organised on behalf of the Duke of Devonshire - as an "auctioneer's dream" and confirmed that it had raised a total of £6,485,282, including buyer's premium.
Promoted as Chatsworth: The Attic Sale, the auction comprised thousands of lots, including chairs, cupboards, lamps, fireplaces, and a carved marble chimney piece which netted £565,250.
The items came from barns, servants' quarters and bedrooms, but not from the "core" of Chatsworth, and the proceeds will fund a number of projects at the estate.
Commenting after the final lot was snapped up, the Duke of Devonshire said: "There has been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for these wonderful items, and it's great to know that wherever they may end up they have now been given a new lease of life.
"The funds raised have exceeded our expectations and will allow us to accelerate a number of projects at Chatsworth and our other estates, including improvements to buildings, new visitor experiences and green initiatives."
Harry Dalmeny, deputy chairman of Sotheby's UK and auctioneer for much of the sale, said: "It's been an auctioneer's dream.
"Sotheby's has been working with the Devonshire family and curators for the last two years to make this auction a spectacular event."