British Heart Foundation shares most unusual eBay donations


By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

July 3, 2014 | 4 min read

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has shared a list of its top ten most unusual donations sold on its eBay store, which includes a tin of custard and a ventriloquist dummy.

The unusual items were donated to BHF shops all over the UK and sold to bidders on eBay over the last three months.

1. Ventriloquist Dummy - £670

A vintage professional ventriloquist doll donated to the Headingly BHF shop in Leeds racked up £670 when sold on the BHF eBay store. The handmade wooden puppet was bought by the son of a collector, after his father died, to help raise money for the charity.

2. Custard Powder Tin - £107

A vintage Home and Colonial Stores custard powder tin donated to the Cambridge BHF shop was sold on the eBay store for £107, rising from a starting price of £4.99, after six people placed competitive bids on it. The tin originated from the early 20th century and became a collector’s item, even though it wasn’t in perfect condition.

3. Sovereign Coin - £220.89

Bearing the head of Edward VII, a 22ct gold sovereign coin from 1905 was sold for £220.89 on the BHF eBay store. Donated to the Portslade BHF shop in East Sussex, the rare coin was manufactured in Perth in the early 20th century and weighed 8.01g.

4. Fish Ornament - £555

A Royal Copenhagen 5456 Salmon Fish ornament was sold for £555 on the BHF eBay store, after being donated to the Sevenoaks BHF shop. The porcelain figurine had a starting price of £9.99 and in just ten days had smashed the £500 mark thanks to five keen bidders.

6. Vivienne Westwood Corset - £123.99

A rare Vivienne Westwood brown leather corset basque top from 1991, which was included in Chertsey Museum’s An Image of Itself exhibition, raised £123.99. Made from 100 per cent leather with an oriental print lining, the structured boned corset was originally donated to the Formby BHF shop and then sold via the BHF eBay store.

6. Military Medals - £190

This 'Imperium Britannicum' military tin, issued to soldiers in 1914 to hold their personal effects, was donated to the Crewe BHF Furniture and Electrical store, containing a collection of 19 military medals from World Wars One and Two. The badges, awarded to a range of different people, sold for a total of £190 with the tin.

7. Cornet - £1,953

A tarnished cornet with dents and scratches that was donated to a BHF shop in Staffordshire was almost thrown out before a volunteer realised it was a rare item made by Distin & Co., a celebrated 19th Century British brass instrument manufacturer. Although it was damaged, the instrument still worked well and the price rose from £4.99 to £1,953 in just seven days.

8. Collection of real bugs and insects - £205

A set of 1-69 Real Life Bugs & Insects magazines, complete with preserved insects and display cases, donated to the Hull BHF shop, sold for £205 on the BHF eBay store. Each magazine, published in association with the Natural History Museum, came with a preserved insect and aimed to teach children everything about the insect world.

9. Pocket Watch - £720

Having been donated to the Liverpool BHF shop, a Walthams 18ct gold pocket watch from 1918 sold for £720 on the eBay store. The vintage watch, which was in good working order, featured a unique inscription on the back saying “Presented to William Wigglesworth by Samuel Heap & Son. In appreciation of 31 years faithful service. Rochdale. August 1918”.

10. Baby Grand Piano - £870

Donated to the Wandsworth BHF Furniture & Electrical store, a 19th Century John Broadwood & Sons baby grand piano sold for £870 for the BHF in an eBay auction. In full working order, the antique sparked a bidding war between eight people.

And finally…

An African pygmy hedgehog was once accidentally donated to the Walthamstow BHF shop after hiding in a donation bag along with clothes, books and shoes. Once the team realised it was handed over to the South Essex Wildlife Trust.


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