Cup stuffed in North Devon wardrobe is solid racing gold
An old cup that sat in a North Devon wardrobe for 20 years has been identified by auctioneers as a solid gold horse-racing trophy.
The owner of the cup, who lives in the Bideford area, thought it was made of brass and was on the verge of taking it to a car boot sale.
However, auctioneers Bonhams discovered it was the solid gold trophy from South Africa's Durban Gold Cup, from 1931.
The cup, estimated to be worth £15,000 to £20,000, will be sold at Bonhams South African Art sale on March 20 in London.
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The distinctive trophy was made by Deakin and Francis in Birmingham.
Charles Lanning, Bonhams regional director in Devon, said: "The cup belonged to our Devon client's grandfather and then to his father and he inherited from there.
"It has been in the same wardrobe for 20 years and has not seen the light of day.
"Its current owner asked a relative one day to research it and see if it had a value, otherwise it was off to the car boot sale – and that was when Bonhams got involved."
The nine-carat gold trophy, the Durban Gold Cup, was won by Le Vin Chaud, owned by William J Jackson, grandfather of the current owner.
William J Jackson emigrated to South Africa and settled in Durban where he became a successful owner of racehorses, winning two other premier races.
When he died, the three cups were passed to his three sons, Percy, Don and Harry.
Harry was the present owner's father. He also had a love of horses and held the rank of Captain in the Cavalry regiment the 17/21 Lancers.
The Gold Cup still takes place every year on the Greyville course in Durban and is South Africa's premier stayers contest run over two miles (3,200m). It was first raced in 1926, when Sir Abe Bailey's Sun Lad won.