A bargain hunter picked up a piece of Oriental art at a Marlborough jumble sale for £1 and sold it for a whopping £8,500 at auction.

The 20th-century Chinese porcelain plaques, which depict scholars in a garden, were sold during Kidson-Trigg’s Oriental sale at their auction rooms in Swindon.

They had originally been valued at between £400 and £600 but a battle between four bidders saw the price creep up until the plaques eventually went to a phone bidder in Beijing.

Salesroom director Pippa Kidson-Trigg said: “The gentleman bought the plaques in with some other things that he was clearing out and we saved them for our Oriental sale as we have three specialist Oriental valuers.

“He didn’t have any idea what they were worth so he was very, very excited.

“At the moment Oriental pieces are very popular and there is no reasoning behind why certain items sell for as much as they do, people in the Orient are just very keen to get pieces of art back.”

A water colour brought into the auction rooms by a man from Ogbourne St George, who lived in Hong Kong in the 1980s, also caused a bit of a stir.

The hanging scroll, Landscape of Guilin, painted in 1980, fetched £12,500 and went to an American online bidder.

Ms Kidson-Trigg said: “The owner was downsizing and knew we had Oriental sales so brought it to us.

“In the 20 to 30 years since he had bought it the Oriental market has grown. I don’t know exactly how much he originally bought it for but it was at least a quarter of the price.

“Everybody loves a bargain and I think with shows like Bargain Hunt people are becoming more interested in digging things out.

“It just shows that it’s worth having a route round your attics and look in jumbles sales because you never know what hidden treasures you might find.”

The next Oriental sale at Kidson-Trigg will be on July 15. For details call (01793) 861000, visit www.kidsontrigg.co.uk