If it weren’t for an eagle-eyed volunteer who noticed that the paintings were valuable, they would have been sold for a mere fraction of the price in store.
Among the paintings were two Burmese paintings, and oriental watercolours.
Volunteer Mary Johnson, who has volunteered at the Oxfam in Malmesbury for four years had a feeling they may of value, despite being tatty and covered in nicotine stains.
“They were very tatty so we put them to one side, but I deal with the homeware side of things and I just had a feeling,” she said.
“We were staggered they made that much, we were screaming with excitement”.
Christine Holdway, who has been manager of Oxfam for 12 years said it wasn’t obvious the paintings were going to be worth as much as they were, as the evaluation estimate was much lower.
“It is a lot of money – we were very excited and are full of praise to the volunteer who spotted them,” she explained. “It was down to her that she thought they might be valuable. She was able to do some research and she said, I am sure they are valuable.”
“We were shocked at how much they made, we didn’t expect it, even after the evaluation of the paintings.
“We have a duty of care to our donors. They could have kept them and sold them for themselves, so it was a very large donation.
“We were all very excited with the fact we had something which made that much money, but we didn’t know until that sale had taken place, the auction estimate was a lot less.”
The paintings that were donated were sold at Wessex Auction Room. The nine paintings were split into lots before being sold, and one of the lots sold for a staggering £700.
Anyone who would like to volunteer for Oxfam should visit their local branch to find out more information.