Everyone has family heirlooms and knickknacks that have been knocking around for so long that no one remembers where they came from and who they belong to, but when those items are found to be worth lots of money, suddenly memories of ownership come flooding back.
This was the case for Andrea Calland and her ex-mother-in-law Evelyn Galloway. Ms Calland sold an "ugly" vase at an auction in 2009 for £228,000 but, following a two-year legal battle, has been forced to hand over the money to Mrs Galloway, the rightful owner.
Ms Calland believed that she had either found the vase during her student days or been given it by her father. She then claimed that even if the vase had originally come from Mrs Galloway, she had abandoned it by not showing any interest for 18 years.
Ms Calland took it to a dealer who offered £375 in cash for the vase. She was suspicious of the dealer's eagerness and put it up for auction instead.
When the local newspaper caught wind of the hefty sum, they featured the vase on their front page where Mrs Galloway saw it and recognised her vase.
She claimed that she had only loaned the vase to her son, Ms Calland's ex-husband, in 1990. The vase had historical importance and sentimental value.
Mrs Galloway was able to produce the catalogue from which the vase was originally purchased by her father in 1956. It was a Chinese Imperial vase, brought to England during the second opium war in 1860. She also had family photos showing the vase in the background.
Judge Seys Llewellyn QC, at Mold County Court, ruled that although Ms Calland had not acted dishonestly, she had not taken reasonable steps to establish ownership of the vase.
Since Mrs Galloway's late husband had been declared bankrupt in 2002, the judge claimed the £190,000 he ordered be paid to Mrs Galloway would "restore" her life.
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