[Fox News] Wife to auction off husband’s collection of 400 vintage irons: ‘Brought him joy’

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The wife of a laundry iron collector is selling his extensive collection of historic and vintage irons, hoping it will bring another person some joy.

Trudy Matthews, 61, made the decision to put her late husband’s 400-piece iron collection up for auction. 

Her husband, Martin Matthews, was a 65-year-old retired gas engineer from Suffolk, England, who became interested in vintage irons in the late 1980s, according to Hansons Auctioneers. 

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Matthews was first introduced to the now-popular clothing iron when an elderly woman gave him one to use as a doorstop. 

Matthews’ wife told Hansons Auctioneers she first discovered his collection on their first date in 1997. 

That’s when she walked into his house and saw a 6-foot by 3-foot wall of shelves filled with antique irons. 

“He duly invited me to dinner at his house, and when I got there, I was astonished,” she told SWNS, the British news service. 

Matthews said in their 26 years together, his collection grew to over 400 irons.

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“An entire wall in our [family room] was covered in more than 400 irons,” she said. 

Matthews said her late husband did a lot of research on the irons.

He read books about them to increase his knowledge of the tool. 

She also said they would search for irons at every destination they visited.

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“We spotted them in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Canada and the United States,” she said. 

The nurse and photographer recalled to Hansons Auctioneers one instance in which the couple traveled to Quebec City, Canada, on the Queen Mary 2 voyage. 

Once in Canada, they found an antique shop that had two unique irons that Matthews wanted to bring home. 

“He bought them, but when we returned to the ship, the x-ray machines spotted two large lumps of iron in his bag,” she said. 

Trudy Matthews recalled a security officer’s confusion about why her husband was bringing irons back aboard the ship. 

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“Martin just said he liked them and that he had nearly 400 in his house — at which point the security officers dissolved into fits of laughter and waved us through,” his wife told Hansons Auctioneers. 

During a different trip to a Greek island, Matthews bought a 10-lb. iron and brought it home in his carry-on luggage. 

Matthews’ wife recalled that she was shocked when they weren’t stopped and questioned by airport security. 

In 2021, Matthews was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome — a group of disorders caused by blood cells that are poorly formed and can result in a spongy material inside the bones, where blood cells are made, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Matthews died in March 2023.

He left his unique collection to his family. 

“He knew that I would not keep the irons if anything happened to him,” his wife said. 

The 400 irons will go up for auction through Hansons Auctioneers in mid-August. 

The collection of irons is expected to fetch over $10,000.

The owner of Hansons Auctioneers, Charles Hanson, said that Matthews’ collection is unique. 

“Irons sparked a historical journey for Martin that brought him joy for decades,” he said. 

“His hobby captured the development of the iron as a household staple.”

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