AN honest antiques dealer had a surprise when he opened up a £20 ginger pot to find more than £3,000 worth of antiques, including five pocket watches and other trinkets.

Phil Sims, aged 41, who owns Sims Vintage, near Belbroughton, had uncovered Steve Bubb’s lost family heirlooms.

Mr Bubb, aged 58, had not seen his late father’s solid silver or 22 carat gold pocket watches for around ten years and following a conversation in a pub about a year ago he told fellow antiques dealer Mr Sims about the missing items.

Three weeks ago, Mr Sims agreed to sell some of the antiques in his shop for Mr Bubb and these included the ginger pot.

Mr Sims said: “He'd asked me to sell a few of his items at the Sims Vintage shop on a commission basis, not something I normally do but as we have helped each other out in the past I agreed.

“I was putting some of his items on a shelf when I noticed that one of his large ginger jars priced at £20 was heavier than it should be.

“I opened it up, the lid had been taped on many years earlier, to find lots of items wrapped in paper.

“When I opened it, it was a shock to say the least. Some people wouldn’t have given them back."

Mr Bubb’s late mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s had put the watches inside the jar to keep them safe.

Since then, he has unintentionally taken the pot with his heirlooms inside to sell at Kinver Antiques Fair on many occasions, but no one ever wanted to buy it.

Mr Bubb said: “I was ecstatic as I had willed them to my nephew. They are of sentimental value.”

Mr Sims added: “He had told me that his mother had lost the family heirlooms so when I took them out I realised straight away what they were.

“Had someone given him £10 to £20 he would have given a lot more than the jar.

“The ginger pot is still for sale if anyone is interested, it's said to bring people good luck nowadays.”