John Richards from West Hampstead, London, is reeling from the discovery that a bag he bought for just £20 in a charity shop is a rare designer piece estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. The pensioner bought the brown bag from the Kingston branch of Oxfam in February.
Richards, 73, was amazed to later discover the bag’s spectacular value and that it was one of just ten made by Irish designer Philip Treacy, now renowned for creating hats for the rich and famous.
“I bought it but then only looked at it again a couple of months later. I decided to take it to the Philip Treacy shop and they confirmed it was one of theirs,” Richards explained.
He called up bosses at Philip Treacy who revealed the bag could be worth as much as £350,000.
[Related article: How to make your own Louboutins]
Gee Brunet, store manager of Philip Treacy London, confirmed the bag was an original.
“It would have cost between £200 and £400 when it was first made. I was very surprised to hear that he had found it in a charity shop,” Brunet said.
“Only about ten such bags were ever made. It’s a piece of art, not a bag.”
Richards has already had interest from two private collectors in China, who have variously offered £250,000 and £350,000 for the item.
He said yesterday that, if he sells the bag, he will use the money to help his partner go into business.
Fee Gilfeather, of Oxfam, told The Sun: “We were stunned to hear about the world record-breaking price this bag could be expected to achieve.
“It’s highly unusual for an item of such extreme value to go unnoticed and demonstrates the appetite for seemingly ordinary items.”