Real life 'iron man' had 400 vintage clothes presses - they may be worth £10k

362     0
A vintage iron from the collection (Image: Mark Laban / Hansons / SWNS)
A vintage iron from the collection (Image: Mark Laban / Hansons / SWNS)

Grandad Martin Matthews proudly displayed his collection of 400 irons from across the world until the day he died.

And the retired gas engineer’s family hope his steamers, some from the 19th century, have increased in value. Martin, who had bone marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome, died in March this year aged 65 and now his wife Trudy is selling the irons he collected over 35 years.

They are being auctioned in multiples, with a guide price of between £80 and £100, but could fetch £10,000. Nurse Trudy, 61, said she only discovered Martin’s obsession with irons on their first date in 1997.

She said: “He duly invited me to dinner at his house and, when I got there I was astonished to see a set of shelves, 6ft high by about 3ft wide, full of antique and vintage laundry irons. It all started in the late 1980s when an elderly lady gave him an old iron suggesting he used it as a doorstop."

Real life 'iron man' had 400 vintage clothes presses - they may be worth £10k erideuiqtqiqdrinvMartin Matthews (Trudy Matthews / Hansons / SWNS)
Real life 'iron man' had 400 vintage clothes presses - they may be worth £10kMartin's wall of irons (Trudy Matthews / Hansons / SWNS)

Over the years Martin bought dozens more irons off eBay and scoured antique fairs to add to his burgeoning collection. Trudy added: “Over the 26 years of our relationship and marriage, his collection grew to occupy a shelving unit that was 7ft high by 11ft wide.

Mrs Hinch fans' 4p trick for cleaning 'entire' washing machine in five minutesMrs Hinch fans' 4p trick for cleaning 'entire' washing machine in five minutes

“An entire wall In our lounge was covered in more than 400 irons. Not to mention the Victorian washing machine, the chain-driven mangle and the cast iron stove. He loved his collection and did lots of research and read books to improve his knowledge.

“We travelled extensively and he loved to find irons in countries we visited. We spotted them in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Canada and the United States.” Despite the life-threatening condition, Martin continued buying irons but in March this year he died, leaving two daughters and six grandchildren.

Trudy, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, says she is selling the irons in the hope other enthusiasts enjoy them. She added: “He knew that I would not keep the irons if anything happened to him.” The irons will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers, in Etwall, Derbyshire, between August 17 and 22.

Dan Warburton

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus