Leeds couple’s £1m pottery secret

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A REMARKABLE collection of pottery amassed by a couple behind the closed doors of their unassuming Leeds home has sold for almost £1m.

The family of the late Alan and Pat Firth knew nothing about the treasure trove of ceramics piled up precariously inside the couple’s bungalow in Temple Newsam and wanted it cleared so they could sell the house.

But when they called in ceramics expert Jason Wood to give his verdict on the items, they discovered that the couple had built up one of Britain’s finest pottery collections.

Their 21 works by famed potter Hans Coper were even rated as better than those owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Mr Wood said some of the pieces had been lucky to survive intact as the couple’s two cats had the run of the house.

He added: “I was completely gobsmacked when I walked in and saw such an important collection in such bizarre surroundings. It reminded me of how Howard Carter must have felt when he opened Tutankhamun’s tomb.”

Mr Wood was able to work out that over the course of 40 years the Firths had spent £27,000 on their collection – which has now sold at auction for £990,679.

Mrs Firth, a secretary, died in 2012 while senior probation officer Mr Firth passed away in April this year aged 80.