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by Andy Foster

I thought my luck was in, when I discovered a battered old shoe box at my local antiques shop!

It had been stuffed inside some old peony scroll bottle vase - Yuhuchunping Ming Dynasty, I think it was - that had been gathering dust on a top shelf at the back of the shop, which is why no one had spotted it before!

I made a generous offer for the box, which was accepted; then I took it along to Sotheby's to be valued.

But they told me it was Barratts, circa 1961, and was virtually worthless ... sigh ...