A millionaire's golden telephone is returning to its Art Deco mansion home and going on display at Eltham Palace this weekend after being discovered in a skip.

The 1930s gold telephone belonged to socialite and eccentric millionaire Virginia Courtauld who, 1933, took residence in a medieval palace in Eltham, fitting it out with all new technology and decadence.

The golden-coloured object was one of five located in the palace's bedrooms and is the only example still in existence. but was thrown out with the rest of the telephones when the Royal Army Educational Corps (RAEC) moved out of Eltham Palace.

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The gold telephone was rescued from the rubbish by a pass member of the RAEC in the 1980s, but its rediscovery has only just emerged.

The item has now been donated to English Heritage, and is due to go on public display for the first time in Eltham Palace tomorrow, Saturday February 15.

Dr Olivia Fryman, English Heritage's curator of collections and interiors, said: "It is wonderful that the only surviving gold telephone belonging to the Courtaulds has returned to Eltham Palace and into the care of English Heritage.

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"This important object gives a real sense of the glamour and modernity of the interiors and the couple's extravagant lifestyle.

"From being housed in bomb-hit Eltham during the Second World War, to being accidentally thrown away, it is a miracle that this telephone has not only survived but finally found its way home."

The telephone is one of only two surviving Siemens Bakelite telephones - the other is black - of the original 19 installed in 1936 for the wealthy Stephen and Virginia Courtauld.

Virginia, who commissioned the gold phones, had an ensuite bathroom lined with gold mosaic and onyx, gold-plated bath taps and a marble statue of Greek goddess Psyche.

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The Courtaulds moved out in May 1944 and passed the lease to the Army Educational Corps.

The gold telephone will go on display at Eltham Palace, in south-east London, from February 15.