House clearer awarded 2mn pound tapestries!

June 7th, 2011 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 7 (IANS) A lucky house clearer has won a legal suit, earning him two ancient tapestries worth up to two million pounds (about $3,300,000) which he had found at the home of a dead millionaire lady, Daily Mail reports.

Ian Spencer had paid the lawyers of the late Judy Keele 5,000 pounds to clear out her flat in Mayfair, London, on the agreement that he could keep what he found.

Though it was thought the property had already been cleared of valuable relics but the two silver and gold embroideries were left behind with other ‘bric-a-brac’.

Spencer, 40, found them in a folded blanket stuffed in a bedside cabinet. The artefacts show a silver and gold castle with a crowned king figure at the top.

Spencer showed the two tapestries, which are about 17 ft by 12 ft, to several experts who initially identified them as of 19th century.

He accepted an offer of 400 pounds for them but the deal never went through.

It wasn’t until he took them to Simon Franses, a renowned specialist in historical textiles, that they were correctly dated back to the 14th century.

It is thought they would have hung in a royal palace in Germany or Poland, making them worth about two million pounds.

Franses arranged with Spencer to research them and sell them on the understanding that he would keep 30 percent of the sale price. However, the two men later fell out and Franses refused to return the embroideries to Spencer until his 93,000 pounds of research work had been paid for.

He also was not sure the house clearer was the legal owner.

Spencer sued Franses to get them back. Following a lengthy legal suit, a High Court judge has ruled in favour of Spencer, declaring him the rightful owner of the tapestries, which he ruled, should be returned to Spencer.

But Justice Thirlwell DBE also ordered him to pay the art specialist’s fees and legal costs of about 300,000 pounds.

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