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Belt bought in charity shop for £5 sells for £1,900 – Pukaar News • Leicester News Agency

A vintage belt bought for a five-person charity shop during a holiday in the Caribbean has sparked an extraordinary auction after it turned out to be a designer treasure.

The glittering belt, glittering with crystals, was discovered in Barbados by a tourist from Leicestershire. She walked into a charity shop and spotted the unusual belt bearing Chanel’s unmistakable CC emblem. She assumed it must be a designer fake, but liked it anyway and paid £5 for it.

The Harborough woman said: “I often get things from charity shops. It never occurred to me that it could be genuine. On reflection, I have to smile at the Bajan lady who was volunteering in the store. She suggested it might make a nice decoration for my Christmas tree.”

Leicester time: Belt bought in charity shop for £5 sells for £1,900

It proved to be too valuable to enhance the festive decorations. The belt has been identified as authentic vintage Chanel. Made in France in the 1990s, the Runway Aurora diamond paste belt was a famous style modeled by Linda Evangelista in Chanel’s Ready-to-Wear fashion show in 1995. It went on to fetch a hammer price of £1,400 in Hansons Auctioneers’ Derbyshire Spring Fine Art Sale.

The seller said: “Brought it back to England after a holiday to Barbados in 2019. Wore it a few times as a necklace but found it a little shiny so it stayed in the box. Then earlier this year I went to the Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. When I saw the jewelry on display, it reminded me of the belt.

“On closer inspection I found a Chanel mark and date and decided to take it to a valuation day hosted by jewelery expert Kate Bliss and Hansons Auctioneers at Albert’s Archives in North Kilworth, Leicestershire. I was excited to meet Kate and learn more about the belt. It turned out to be genuine.”

Leicester time: Belt bought in charity shop for £5 sells for £1,900

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “Initially we expected the belt to achieve between £400 and £600, but after research it took it to £1,000-1,500. It amounted to £1,400, and the total paid by a United States bidder, including premium, was £1,954. Vintage designer clothes and accessories are in demand.

“I’ve seen some amazing charity shop finds in the UK, but I’ve never come across a bargain find from as far away as Barbados. It’s a great return for a holiday find.”

Coco Chanel (1883-1971) pioneered the introduction of jewelry and accessories. She encouraged women to wear fashion jewelry and led by example. She believed that jewelry was not worn to demonstrate wealth, but to adorn.

The first ghost jewel from the House of Chanel appeared in 1914. However, it was not until the 1970s that Chanel costume jewelry was marked more consistently. When designer Karl Lagerfeld joined Chanel in 1983, the brand’s familiar CC logo was featured more prominently.

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