A table tennis bat bought for £3.50 at a car boot sale has sold for £1000 at auction after it turned out to be a Victorian antique.
The bat was purchased by a dad for his children to learn how to play ping pong around six years ago.
It surpassed its £50 estimate at auction after it emerged that it is 120-years-old.
The Edwardian silver-lined item sold for £1000 when it went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers, in London, on Saturday.
Chris Kirkham, associate director of Hansons London, said: “It was the surprise of the day – and sparked a bidding battle.
“It turned out to be an extremely rare Victorian bat dating to circa 1900, perhaps a presentation piece.
“The handle was hallmarked as Edwardian silver. It’s found a new home in the USA thanks to a winning bid of £1000.
“Its modest guide price was £50-£80 but it raced into the hundreds with ease when bidding got under way.
“It just goes to show some great car boot sale finds are still out there.”
Other sale highlights included an orange Émile Gallé Art Nouveau twin-handled cameo vase decorated with spider flowers.
The French artist etched a spider onto the base in an unusual twist and the piece sold for £1700.
Three signed artworks by British artist Evelyn de Morgan (1855- 1919), a respected painter associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, also proved a success.
Her pencil and pastel sketches of a female attracted worldwide attention before being purchased by a top London gallery for more than £6000.
Kirkham added: “It was a varied auction full of surprises and fascinating lots, my favourite being the beautifully executed pictures by Evelyn de Morgan.”