Safe found during house clearance to be auctioned in Honiton

PUBLISHED: 13:08 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:58 05 June 2017

Liz Chilcott shows off the miniature safe.

Liz Chilcott shows off the miniature safe.

Archant

The unusual item is thought to have been exhibited at the Glasgow International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in 1888.

The miniature safe.The miniature safe.

A miniature Victorian safe found during a routine house clearance in West Devon will be auctioned off this month.

The unusual item is thought to have been exhibited at the Glasgow International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in 1888 after a bronze medal was found inside, awarded to one R Thompson for a ‘Special Exhibition’.

It will go under the hammer at Silver Street-based auctioneers Chilcotts on June 10.

Auctioneer Duncan Chilcott said: “This is one of those intriguing items handed down through the generations that we sometimes come across at a house clearance.

“It is a clever and intricate piece; once the first safe door is opened, four more smaller doors with individual locks are revealed.”

The auction house has put a guide price of £400 to £600 on the safe, which has a complex locking mechanism which can be seen by opening the inside cover.

Duncan added: “It measures just 18 centimetres high by 12.5 square, but is quite hefty – weighing in at around seven and a half kilograms.”

There are also two large displays of medallions awarded to locksmiths and safe-makers in other nineteenth century trade exhibitions. Trade exhibitions were very popular in the Victorian era.

The Glasgow exhibition of 1888 took place in Kelvingrove Park between May and November.

It was designed to grow international awareness of Glasgow’s achievements in science, the arts and industry during the Industrial Revolution. The exhibition space was designed by architect James Sellars in an oriental style and the main building located in Kelvingrove Park

Both the safe and medallions were the property of Alfred Langton Markham, 1923-2015, the vendor’s father, who was Managing Director of Chubb Locks. Alfred acquired them when the Chubb museum was dispersed during the last century.

The medals and miniature safe will be sold at Chilcotts’ Fine Art, Antiques and Collectors Items sale at the Silver Street showroom adjacent to the Honiton livestock centre.

Viewing is on Thursday from 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 7pm and sale day from 8.30am.

The sale starts at 10.30am

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