Man misses out on a fortune when furniture he sells for £600 later fetches over £220,000 at auction.

To pay an outstanding bill for inheritance tax, 25 year old John O'Sullivan from Pallaskenry in County Limerick sold off some property and three pieces of furniture that had been in the family for years.

The furniture had been left to him by his grandfather who bought it at a public auction in the now ruined Dromore Castle in County Limerick. The items were a writing desk, an oak buffet and a washstand. Some of the furniture was used by the family, but the broken items were stored in a cow shed. John O'Sullivan decided to sell the old furniture as it was not to his taste.

He was well pleased when he got £600 for it at a public auction locally.

John O’Sullivan never thought to have the furniture valued prior to the auction. The following year the same furniture fetched over £220,000 at auction at Christie's, London. It turned out to be the work of the Victorian designer Edward William Godwin. A spokesperson at Christie’s confirmed the writing desk and oak buffet each sold for £111,500. The washstand was withdrawn at £17,000.

John O’Sullivan is philosophical about losing almost a quarter of a million pounds.

What’s the point now, forget about it.

His future plan is to win the Lotto.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 10 June 1993. The reporter is Gerry Reynolds.