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Newport zesty bidding war sees 285-year-old lemon fetch £1.4K

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A zesty and unlikely bidding war has seen a lemon that is nearly 300 years old fetch more than £1,000 at auction.

Brettell’s Auctioneers in Newport said the initial bid was just £40, but then the bids for what is thought to have been a love token just escalated.

The lemon has inscriptions carved in it stating it was given by Mr P Lu Franchini Nov 4 1739 to Miss E Baxter.

Auctioneer David Brettell said he told bidders: “You are never going to see an object like this at auction again.”

“It is completely unique,” he added. It is thought the fruit was brought back to the UK from India.

There were 35 bidders in the end, but it went to a British collector paying a total of £1,416 including auctioneer’s fees.

Mr Brettell said the ancient citrus fruit was discovered in the bottom drawer of a 19th century chest salvaged during a house clearance.

Dried out lemon

It is thought to have been a love token and sold for £1,416 after a bidding war

The vendors were sorting through their uncle’s possessions and thought the cabinet may be valuable so brought it in.

Mr David Brettell said: “The lemon arrived in an ordinary late 19th century Chinese collector’s chest.

“It was right at the back of one of the drawers so we took it out, who knows how long it had been in there for, but I suppose it is not something you would have ever taken out,” he said.


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