When a 44-year-old computer programmer in England died unexpectedly earlier this year, his brother — and ultimately auctioneers and collectors worldwide — were in for a shock. The bachelor had spent nearly 20 years filling his three-bedroom home, a one-bedroom flat, two garages, a neighbor’s garden and 24 storage containers with boxes, bags and bins of “stuff.” The brother originally intended on taking the hoard to the dump. Instead, he called in an auction house to look at it first. It turns out the brother may find himself with a windfall of as much as $5.2 million from the nearly 60,000 items, most still in unopened boxes.
The items found, once movers were able to squeeze into the rooms filled from floor-to-ceiling, include: Beatles memorabilia; signed photos and historical letters about President John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Gandhi and Elvis Presley; 6,000 vintage comics; more than 4,000 rare books; 3,000 vintage chemistry sets; brand new cameras and lenses;12 Rickenbacker guitars from the 1960s and ’70s; Russian and American space exploration memorabilia; radio equipment; ghetto blasters from the 1980s; Airfix models; and jewelry.
Unique Auctions of England spent four weeks opening the packing boxes and bags. A four-day sale with 3,000 lots is planned for Oct. 22-25. The sale estimate has been put at between $650,000 to more than $5 million.