The “world’s humblest Christmas tree” bought for 6p from a Woolworths store 103 years ago has sold at auction for more than £3,400 ($4,321).
The modest and unassuming tree was purchased in the aftermath of the First World War in 1920 by the family of eight-year-old Dorothy Grant.
It served as Dorothy’s Christmas tree from her time as a little girl up until her death at the age of 101.
As a child she decorated the artificial tree with cotton wool to resemble snow, and she went on to proudly display it for another 94 Christmases.
After Dorothy passed away in 2014, the precious festive heirloom was passed onto her daughter Shirley Hall.
The 84-year-old, who lives near Loughborough, Leics., said she wanted to sell the tree so someone else can enjoy it this Christmas.
The 31ins high tree, featuring 25 branches, 12 berries and six mini candle holders, is grounded in a small wooden base, painted red with a simple decorative emblem.
It was expected to sell for between just £60 and £80 but fetched £3,411 when it went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers today.
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “The magic of Christmas lives on.
“The humblest Christmas tree in the world has a new home and we’re delighted for both buyer and seller.
“It would have been bought for pennies originally but it’s sold for thousands and that’s astonishing.
“I think it’s down to the power of nostalgia. Dorothy’s story resonated with people.”
Bargain Hunt star Charles added: “As simple as it was Dorothy loved that tree. It became a staple part of family celebrations for decades
“The fact that it brought such joy to Dorothy is humbling in itself.
“It reminds us that extravagance and excess are not required to capture the spirit of Christmas.
“For Dorothy it was enough to have a tree.
“It may appear sparse to us today but to her it was special. She enjoyed decorating it with cotton wool to make it look as if it was sprinkled with snow.”
The cute tree formed the centerpiece of festive decorations at Dorothy’s family home in Forest Road, Loughborough.
Charles said: “We understand Dorothy’s mother, who was born in 1891, bought the tree in 1920, which would make it 103 years old.
“It’s likely she purchased it from Woolworths.
“The popular department store started selling some of the first mass-produced artificial trees around that time and Woolworths opened a store in Leicester in 1915.
“Some of the first artificial Christmas trees utilized machinery which had been designed to manufacture toilet brushes.
“This is one of the earliest Christmas trees of its type we have seen.
“The waste-not, want-not generations of old are still teaching us an important lesson about valuing the simple things and not replacing objects just for the sake of it.
“The seller is parting with the tree now to honor her mother’s memory and to ensure it survives as a humble reminder of 1920s life – a boom-to-bust decade.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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