Surprise for staff as two rare art works are donated to charity shop

Geoffrey Stalker, shop manager, with the auction booklet

Geoffrey Stalker, shop manager, with the auction booklet - Credit: Archant

A pair of paintings donated to a Huntingdon charity shop could fetch hundreds of pounds at auction after closer examination revealed them to be the works of two 19th century artists.

The two paintings that are up for auction

The two paintings that are up for auction - Credit: Archant

Staff at the Oxfam books and music shop, in High Street, were shocked when they heard the two paintings could be worth more than £1,000.

The paintings were donated by a lady who said she was clearing out an old church building and wanted to get rid of some items, earlier this year.

When staff at the shop had a closer look at the paintings they realised that they weren’t just prints and they may be valuable.

Geoffrey Stalker, shop manager, said: “The paintings were handed to us about six months ago, but because we were so busy we didn’t get to have a proper look at them for a while.

“When we did, I realised that there was texture on the paintings, which suggested that they were not prints.”

Mr Stalker said he contacted a friend, John Malony, a retired art evaluator, and asked if he could have a look to see if the paintings were of any value, and when he turned up he said they were.

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Mr Stalker said: “We were very lucky that John was kind enough to take them to Cheffins, where they are now up for auction.”

The first of the two oil paintings was painted by Italian artist Guiseppe Carelli and is being auctioned with a guide price of between £400-£600.

The second of the works was painted by Sir Egerton Coghill, from Ireland, and is estimated at £300-£500.

Mr Malony said: “Although I don’t work as an art dealer anymore, I thought I would help them out as I am still interested in art.

“When I saw them, the first thing I wanted to do was clarify that they are actually oil paintings and not fake. Once I realised that they were I decided that I would take them to Cheffins to have them auctioned.

“Usually when someone has something you can tell straight away if they are authentic, but this one was a mystery.”

The paintings will be auctioned at Cheffins of Cambridge fine art auction on September 12 and 13 from 11am onwards. For more information call the fine art team on 01223 213343.