Pleasant surprise for owner after Japanese ornament sells for £3,350 at Louth auction

The netsuke was sold for �3,350 at the auction in Louth.
The netsuke was sold for �3,350 at the auction in Louth.

An elderly man was pleasantly surprised last week after a small Japanese ornament from his home was sold at auction for an incredible £3,350.

A 19th century ‘netsuke’ - a carved ivory toggle which is used to attach a cord from an inro (a type of belt) - was up for sale at Louth auctioneers John Taylors because the man was clearing out in preparation to move house.

The quality of the netsuke carving varies and reflects the owner’s wealth and status, and this particular example was an exceptionally well carved Shishi, a mythical lion-dog.

The price came as a complete surprise to the owner, as he had no idea what the item was - let alone how much money it might be worth.

Senior valuer, James Laverack, told the Leader: “When visiting a new client for the first time you never know what you are going to find, and this certainly was a pleasant surprise.

“Because of the subject and the quality of the carving I knew it would command a good price but I didn’t expect £3,350.”

Enquiries came from all over the world, resulting in telephone bids and commission bids.

However, the winning bid came via an online bid from America.

This was the biggest sale the Louth auctioneers had conducted this year, and the netsuke wasn’t the only big hitter in the sale.

A platinum and diamond ring made £2,700, a gent’s Rolex watch made £1,700, and a Remy Martin ‘Grand Champagne’ Louis VIII bottle of Cognac reached a staggering £820.