The WI’s speaker for their August meeting was Gareth Wasp, auctioneer and valuer.
Gareth told members that his involvement with auctioneering began at the age of 14, when he helped out at a sale room in Surrey and realised this was the career he wanted.
He later worked for Sotheby’s where he came into contact with very valuable items including a Rubens’ painting which sold for over £55 million.
Frome where he now works hasn’t yet yielded items of similar value but he has come across those worth much more than their owners realised, including two very striking rings.
Gareth brought a selection of items to the meeting as a competition. Members were asked to guess the link between several silver items and to assess the value of a small marquetry cabinet, a boxed Skeletor toy from the 1980s and a pair of boots which Jimi Hendrix left behind after a concert.
No-one guessed the silverware link – they were all items which had been altered in some way; the Jimi Hendrix boots were the most expensive item valued at £2500, Skeletor at £250 and the cabinet at £150. There were no completely correct entries, but a prize was given for the nearest.
Members brought items for him to value during the coffee break. Clocks and watches, knives, china, cigarette cards, paintings, jewellery and other individual items were considered. No-one had been cherishing anything of major value, although one watch was worth considerably more than its owner had anticipated.
The WI will have a stall selling jam and chutney at Wellington Flower Show on 25 August, and one selling preserves and cakes at the World Wellington Boot Throwing Championship on 8 September. Proceeds will go to charity as will the income from the sale of Pimm’s at the meeting.
The next WI meeting is on 20 September at the Beambridge Inn, 7.00 for 7.30 pm. Guests and new members are very welcome. There will be a talk about the SS Great Britain.