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South Shields Builder has got a Handle on His Pocket

Expected to make a profit of around £60,000 but estimated to make a minimum of £2m, this South Shields builder has taken vintage door knobs, door handles and other brass fittings to auction.

After hearing that around 655,000 ornate, rare and vintage brass items, originally purchased by a Cornish millionaire, were in need of a “new home,” Mr Brian Cairns thought this was a clever way of tripling his outgoings through scrap – little did he know just how much money he was about to lay his hands on, but not through scrap as he had initially thought. 

The journey to Penzance to the brass-filled property ensued after a tip-off, where Cairns found himself entering a time warp.  The property he entered had not been amended, changed or visibly re-entered since the wife of a junk shop owner had died in 1975, a newspaper abandoned mid-read, never to be finished still laid spread open on the table – “the owner just didn’t want to go back in to the premises again.”

12 Tonnes of Brass Including Door Handles Brass door handle Italian style

A deal was struck between Cairns and the elderly owner, one that did not truly reflect the price of the brass or its later discovered value, the owner just wanted the belongings dispatched as the memories attached to his wife were too painful for him to bear.  Cairns hired two seven-and-a-half tonne lorries to transport the 12 tonnes of brass back to the North East.  This journey took multiple days to complete owing to the weight of the lorries, as they were only able to travel between 10 and 30 mph.

Brass Handles Estimated at £200 Each

Back safely in the North East and about to sell all of the 655,000 collected brass objects for scrap, Cairns decided to have them valued…luckily!  It was discovered that many of the door knobs, door handles, light switches, hat stands and letter boxes (to name just a few) were actually Vintage Valli and Columbo, an Italian company which ceased production 55 years previous.  Many of the handles, he was informed, were estimated to be worth around £150 each and the brass handles estimated £200 each.  Mr Cairns said, “I bought it all for scrap but I started looking in to what they really were and realised many were vintage Italian handles.”

Initially, it did not sound like individually they were going to make Mr Cairns a particularly lucrative return but with 655,000 items, many of these brass door knobs and door handles, the auction estimate was that of around £2m.  So it definitely pays to have potential “scrap” valued before letting scrapping commence, as this has made one South Shields father-of-four an overnight multimillionaire!

Door Knobs and Door Handles Available at Handsome Handles

The door knobs and door handles available at Handsome Handles won’t cost you a fortune – they are quality, affordable products and can be found on our website.  To find out more about brass door handles, door knobs and door handles visit us at info@handsomehandles.co.uk or call us on 07961 832 812.

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