"Got back to the office and someone came in with a beautiful printed lace dress by Coco Chanel, about 1927, which will do very well because of the release of the film Coco Avant Chanel with Audrey Tautou. I estimated it at about £2,500 to £3,500, but I won't be surprised if it achieves more than that. My client bought it for £100 at one of the vintage fairs. The dealer hadn't looked inside and spotted the label! That will be one for my December auction."
"A lady came in last year with a bag of stuff, and, oh, it was one awful thing after the next. Then at the bottom there was some yellow satin and she pulled it out and I recognised it as being designed by Matisse for Le Chant du Rossignol, one of Serge Diaghilev's ballets. Her brother was a ballet enthusiast and had bought it at an auction in the 1970s. I said, 'I think we will get £20,000 to £30,000 for it', and she nearly died. It made £32,000, in fact."
"Then there was the English couple who phoned me once. They'd bought a mill in France to do up as a holiday home. Up in the loft, covered in pigeon dirt, were original Madeleine Vionnet boxes from the 1920s. This was an important part of Vionnet's development, preceding the bias cut. There was box upon box of them. Quite extraordinary. That little collection raised enough money for their new roof."