Updated: May 17, 2022
Builder unlocks a fortune after his brass doorknobs were valued at £2MILLION
The 55-year-old bought the 12 tonne load that had been stashed in storage in a basement for 40 years for just £20,000
Builder Brian Cairns has unlocked a fortune as brass doorknobs he paid £20,000 for were valued at £2million.
The 55-year-old bought the 12 tonne load that had been stashed in storage in a basement for 40 years.
The collection of door knobs and handles have now been identified as an Italian vintage made by Valli and Columbo.
Brian, of South Shields, Tyne and Wear, is now selling the collection in a series of auctions.
He said: "I bought it all for scrap but I started looking into what they really were and realised many were vintage Italian handles.
Knobs for sale: Brian Cairns purchased a collection of brass door knockers and handles for £20,000 which have been valued at £2million.
"I sent the inventory off to an Italian company who told me the lot were worth £2million."
"These are items that you would never have thought you would have the chance to buy. It's a once in a lifetime thing. I think I was just lucky."
Brian bought the brass goods - including light switches, hat stands and letter boxes - from a millionaire in Penzance, Cornwall.
He had kept them in storage for 40 years saying he never wanted to look at them because they reminded him of his wife.
He had a total of 655,000 brass objects - many of them screws and hinges - but other larger pieces.
The doorknobs: Brian Cairns bought a colletion of brass door knockers and handles for £20,000 which have been valued at £2million
While some of the knobs are worth just pence, there are a huge number of highly sought-after antique door-openers, worth in excess of £150 each.
Father-of-four Brian hired two seven-and-a-half tonne lorries to transport the handles - made by the Italian company which closed 55 years ago.
The journey took two days to complete the 500 mile journey because the vehicles could only average 20mph because of the weight.
They are now to go on sale at Jarrow Auction Rooms.