A mirror that once belonged to the last queen of France and had been hanging in a family bathroom for 40 years has sold at auction for £10,000.
Auctioneer Andy Stowe said although it bore a plaque referencing Marie Antoinette, the owners “thought it was a bit of fun, and probably not true”.
As a consequence, it had been nailed to the wall of a downstairs toilet.
It was passed down to the seller, from North Ferriby near Hull, from a relative in the 1980s.
Its provenance was proven after it was discovered in a Christie’s auction catalogue of Napoleon III’s possessions from 1889.
Napoleon’s wife, Empress Eugénie, had a keen interest in Antoinette and bought up many items belonging to the former queen, which were later sold off.
The mirror, measuring 50cm by 40cm, is thought to have been part of a larger display in one of the queen’s palaces.
“To imagine Marie Antoinette herself staring into this mirror is just wonderful,” said Mr Stowe, from East Bristol Auctions.
“And it just goes to show that items we have in our everyday lives can very often hold a secret that makes them worth a small fortune.”
It was sold to an anonymous UK-based collector for £8,500 hammer price, or £10,000 including buyer’s premium.