The Boulton Drawings
caused a bit of a stir at Christie's, not least because some distracted member of staff threw some of them out with the rubbish. An anonymous bin-man with a more discerning eye flogged them to a junk shop, where one John Booth bought them for £2.50. (He was after the hardboard folder they were stored in.)
"I thought they looked rather nice, house elevations and things," said Booth. "I showed them to a few dealers at Camden Passage, Islington. One offered me £60, another £100. I thought, hello, maybe they're really valuable. So I left them at Phillip's salerooms, and you could have knocked me over with the folder when they said they could be worth about £8,000 at auction."
Unfortunately, Phillip's twigged that these must be part of the now-celebrated Tew sale, decided that their loyalty to their own kind outweighed any loyalty to their client, and ratted on him to Christie's, who demanded them back. Booth fought back, but by this time they were in Christie's possession, wherein lies nine points of the law.
Booth eventually settled for £1,500.