Sotheby's raises $10.3 million from giant "attic sale"

Fri Oct 8, 2010 7:43am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Sotheby's has raised 6.5 million pounds ($10.3 million) in a marathon three-day clear-out sale of furniture, jewelry, cars, dolls and a pinball machine belonging to the owners of British stately home Chatsworth.

The giant attic sale included 20,000 objects sold in over 1,400 lots and was the largest country house sale in Britain since 1977, according to the auctioneer. It had been expected to raise around 2.5 million pounds.

More than 1,700 people made bids on items, either in person in the large marquee set up in the grounds of the house for the sale or over the phone and internet.

"The funds raised have exceeded our expectations and will allow us to accelerate a number of projects at Chatsworth and our other estates," the Duke of Devonshire said after the final lot was sold late on Thursday.

Harry Dalmeny of Sotheby's called it "an auctioneer's dream."

The top lot of the sale was a George II carved white marble chimneypiece designed by William Kent which went for 565,250 pounds, more than double its pre-sale estimate.

Other highlights included a rare Maori pendant found hidden at the back of a cupboard which fetched 45,650 pounds and a Georgian iron boot scraper which sold for 1,875 pounds.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)