A rare medieval-style acoustic instrument being auctioned in Wellington has attracted interest from as far away as London.
The 26-string lute was found among junk from an unclaimed storage locker at Central Markets auction house in Lower Hutt.
Auctioneer Alan Fisher says an inscription was found on the lute saying it was the first such instrument made in 1927 by Arnold Dolmetsch, a French-born instrument maker who spent much of his life in England.
The lute was also a favourite with Ritchie Blackmore, former lead guitarist of the English rock group Deep Purple.
Mr Fisher says the instrument has been examined by representatives of the Dolmetsch family and Horniman Museum in London.
He expects the lute to sell for about $4000 when it goes under the hammer on Thursday.