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Kildonan gold locket surprises auctioneers by fetching a 'whopping' £10k – way above valuation and 'the biggest surprise of the sale' by Chorley's as mystery buyer snaps up historic piece

By Caroline McMorran

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A HISTORIC locket made of Kildonan gold has sold at auction for a “whopping” £10,000 – more than 12 times the value placed on it.

The stunning piece, which dates back at least 153 years, went under the hammer at Chorley’s Auction House’s Fine Art and Antiques Auction on Tuesday, January 25.

The Kildonan gold locket.
The Kildonan gold locket.

The estimate placed on it by the Gloucestershire auction house was between £600 and £800.

But in the event, there was a bidding war with the eventual purchaser, who has not been named, offering £10,000.

The auction house said the price fetched was the “biggest surprise of the sale”.

The locket, which has the word Kildonan inscribed on it, is contained in its own case and has a note with it detailing its provenance. On the reverse is a glazed panel containing a 3cm diameter photograph.

It was gifted by Charlotte, Duchess of Norfolk – the daughter of the 1st Duke of Sutherland – to Louisa Blanche Howard in 1869.

The auction house said it had been sold by the current Earl of Liverpool, a descendant of Louisa Howard.

The Great Sutherland Gold Rush began in Kildonan in 1869 and within six months more than 600 hopeful prospectors had made their way to the normally deserted Kildonan glen.

A shanty town sprung up and came to be know as Baile an Or – Village of the Gold.

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