From Trash To Treasure

Salvage Hunters Rejuvenated Antiques Come To Auction

A selection of restored and revived antiques from the popular programmed Salvage Hunters: The Restorers will be included in Sworders Fine Interiors sale on 21-22 July. The article looks at the eclectic mix of quirky and unique pieces and discusses the methods that were implemented that resulted in their fascinating transformations


Rejuvenated antiques featured on the popular Quest TV show Salvage Hunters: The Restorers come for sale at Sworders auction house next week. The ‘trash to treasure’ items, that range from a table used at garden parties at Buckingham Palace to a Second World War ‘anglepoise’ lamp used in a Lancaster bomber, were chosen by a team of reputable antique dealers, and brought back to life by a range of talented restorers across the UK. All lots come for sale on July 21-22 in fully restored condition. 


The antique dealers who feature on the program travel the length and breadth of the country in search of weird and wonderful objects. However, it is often the team of skilled craftsmen – blacksmiths, carpenters, sculptors, gilders and upholsterers – that are responsible for giving old and rare finds a new lease of life. Salvage Hunters: The Restorers, goes behind-the-scenes with their expert team to see what it really takes to transform junk into gems.

Some of the 25 pieces in Sworders’ Fine Interiors sale on July 21 have undergone a dramatic transformation.


For a 19th century plaster cast of a Roman bronze horse’s head, this meant a replacing both the missing jaw and an ear, while four mid-20th century pendant ceiling lights designed by Danish designer Svend Aage Holm Sørensen have been fully refurnished after years in a hoarder’s barn (estimate £2000-3000). Often the skill of a good restorer is to refresh a piece while maintaining its character and aged look.



Plaster cast of Roman horse head

Lot 261

Plaster cast after the bronze horse from Vicolo delle Palme

Estimate £1,000 - £1.500



 The production team explain the process of renewal for a 1920s French Art Deco butcher’s block. “Due to the incredible wear on the block, this has been preserved with a bronze resin infill, and a flat piece of glass has been added to create a stunning yet functional piece. It’s a marriage of traditional and contemporary design. Should the next owner end up being a bit of a purist, they can simply remove this top section and enjoy the original base.”




1920s French Art Deco butcher's block

Lot 267

A large French beech butcher's block table

Estimate £1,000 - £2,000



 Also upgraded for use at home was an original Second World War era ‘Anglepoise’ lamp as used to aid navigation in the Avro Lancaster. Only 80,000 of these lamps were made by Herbert Terry & Co. and very few are left today. The lamp has been restored sympathetically, with the addition of a new base and a replacement shade. The estimate is £200-300.  


Two items have a royal connection. A reconditioned early 20th century Gladstone bag carrying the name of Prince George Yourievsk, the illegitimate son of Tsar Alexander II, is expected to bring £300-500.



20th century Gladstone bag

Lot 276

An oxblood leather Gladstone bag

Estimate £300 - £500



A massive circular limed oak dining table found in an outbuilding in Sandringham in Norfolk is one used at summer garden parties at Buckingham Palace. Kept in storage shed during the Blitz, the table has an ‘MCC’ stamp on it suggesting that Marylebone Cricket Club once borrowed it for test match cricket at Lords.

At 10ft wide it was too large for most households, so – in addition to the replacement of rotten timbers - it has been redesigned with screw-in legs and can also be set up as two stand-alone tables.


Click here to view the full 25 lots and the work that was done to create them.







Recent News


John Cobb  |  Furniture Fit For a King

A fine commode, believed to be by John Cobb (1715-1778), arguably one of England's greatest furniture makers, comes up for sale in Dick Turpin | The Legend Lives On to be held on 25 January.

7 December 2023

Tales in Thread | The Hildegard Heygate Textiles Collection

Sworders are pleased to present a selection of antique and vintage textiles in our December Fine Interiors sale, including items from the collection of the late Hildegard Heygate.

4 December 2023

Grand Plans | Emma Barnett, Head of Homes & Interiors

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Emma Barnett has been appointed as Head of Department with responsibility for the future development of our Homes and Interiors sales – Emma has been with Sworders for some time, but as she now moves into this pivotal role, we would like to take this opportunity to introduce her to you.

30 November 2023



Get Sworders News