Real Life

I struck gold…in a teapot!

Sandra Greigg didn’t have to rub Aladdin’s lamp to make her wishes come true, but she did find her own pot of gold at the bottom of an old teapot she bought at a garage sale.

The Wellington woman couldn’t believe her eyes when she discovered gems worth thousands of dollars hidden inside a small jewellery box in the $1 teapot.

The 100-year-old diamond engagement and wedding rings and a large milky opal had been put in the teapot by Frances Pickles 15 years ago, but the 85-year-old now sufferers from Alzheimer’s disease and had forgotten her secret hiding place for her mother’s wedding rings.

The garage sale was held at Frances’ Lower Hutt home when her family moved her to Whangarei to care for her.

Her daughter, Linda Holley (55), says they put everything in the kitchen in the garage sale, never thinking they would be practically giving away their heirlooms.

Self-confessed “garage-sale-aholic” Sandra bought two teapots in the sale, for a friend, but wanted to clean them first.

“There was newspaper inside and when I pulled it, out popped the little red box. I opened it and saw the rings, and I knew they were very old.

“But it was the opal that got me. I’m superstitious, I don’t like them – I think they’re bad luck. It was shaped like a tear drop, it really freaked me out and I knew I couldn’t have it in my house.”

Sandra rushed the jewellery back to its owners, who were touched. “We were so lucky they were found,” says Linda.

“Some people would have had them on Tradeoe by lunchtime,” adds Sandra. “I couldn’t live with myself if I’d kept it.”

The opal had been given to Frances by her late son. Linda says the family plans to have it set in a necklace for their mum. They bought Sandra a tea set to say thanks for returning the special heirlooms.

It’s not the first time Sandra’s struck gold at a garage sale. She once bought a picture frame for 50c and, when she took it for repairs, discovered a $2000 painting by William oenzies-Gibb inside.

She also found an amethyst brooch worth $500 in a trinket box. The owner sold it to her for $3 on the condition she kept it – and she has.

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