Charity raises £10,000 from Cartier watch found in donations bag – The Guardian

Charity raises £10,000 from Cartier watch found in donations bag – The Guardian

The British Heart Foundation has sold a gold Cartier watch for almost £10,000 on auction site eBay, after it turned up in a bag of donations handed in at a shop in Hounslow, west London.

The 18 carat Tank Française watch, favoured by celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Diana, Princess of Wales, set a record for the charity, which sold 236,000 donated items online last year to raise funds.

Its sale price of £9,766.66 topped the value of other donated treasures on the internet in recent years by BHF including a 7-inch vinyl demo of the Beatles’ Love Me Do (complete with a misspelling of Paul McCartney’s name) which went for £9,400, and a second-hand Mercedes-Benz E320 which fetched £7,502.

“As the largest charity in the UK funding research into heart and circulatory disease, every donation makes a huge difference to the British Heart Foundation. It’s only through the hugely generous donations of the public that we can continue to do this very important work,” said Richard Pallier, the head of online retail at the British Heart Foundation.

The watch was sent to the charity’s online hub in Leeds for verification before being put on eBay by BHF’s online selling partner, Shopiago.

Sharp-eyed volunteers, or generous donors, can occasionally lead to bumper sales for charities. A grimy damaged Chinese pot donated to St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol in 2012 fetched £360,000 – nearly three times the shop’s annual turnover – after it was found to be about 300 years old and by one of the most famous artists of its era.

The Red Cross raised funds from Margaret Thatcher’s handwritten speech from her eulogy at the funeral of Ronald Reagan, after it was donated by her daughter.

“When you consider the average value of an item donated to a charity shop is less than £5, finding a Cartier watch is like striking gold and winning the lottery at the same time. Whoever the generous donor was, they can rest assured that their donation will go a long way towards fighting heart disease,” Kama Villiers, the enterprise customer success manager at Shopiago, said.

“This sale really demonstrates the power of online sales for charity retailers. Last year charities sold 641,000 donated items online via the Shopiago platform, but this is the most valuable single item we’ve sold to date.”

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