Antiques detectives unravel sock-knitting mystery

Auctioneer Brinley Roberts with one of the knitting machines

Auctioneer Brinley Roberts with one of the knitting machines - Credit: Archant

Valuers at a local auctioneers’ firm were forced to turn detective when an unusual piece of old machinery turned up in a house clearance.

Close up of sock knitting macxhinery

Close up of sock knitting macxhinery - Credit: Archant

The team at Potburys in Sidmouth found the two devices in bits at a property near the town.

Auctioneer Brinley Roberts said: “We had never seen anything like it before so we had to do a bit of research to work out what it was.”

A few internet inquiries turned up the answer.

They had discovered two sock knitting machines dating back to the late Victorian era.

Auctioneer Brinley Roberts with one of the knitting machines

Auctioneer Brinley Roberts with one of the knitting machines - Credit: Archant


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And, the auctioneers were surprised at the level of interest they generated.

“Your traditional antiques like wardrobes and chests of drawers are in the doldrems really, so it is the quirky, the unusual, that attracts the money these days.” he said.

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A conservative estimate of between £120 and £180 was far exceeded.

It eventually sold, including premium, for £1,460.

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