A BARGAIN hunter made a fantastic discovery after buying a dusty wooden box which contained a selection of glass plate negatives.

Antique enthusiast Greg Pack, 70, of Canvey, found the box while at a car boot sale in Marks Tey and bought it for just £4.

The negatives are thought to have been taken before the First World War, and seem to show the same family.

Greg’s son Scott, 47, scanned the negatives into his computer and used Photoshop to reverse the colours - turning them into eerie black-and-white photographs.

Greg studiously visits the Marks Tey boot sale every week with his wife Francis.

Greg, who lives on Canvey Island, said: “I actually repair clocks as a hobby so we go once a week and look for old clocks.

“The box was actually shut and I like old boxes, so I looked to see what was inside.

“When I opened it I saw the photographs.

“I thought the seller would want £20 or £30 or something, but he said he just wanted £5.

“You can’t pay the asking price at a boot sale - that’s not how it’s done - so I offered him £4 and he agreed.

“I thought that’s unbelievable.”

Greg used to work in graphic reproduction, and tried a number of methods to get a better look at the negatives - which include pictures of children gathered together, a soldier in a uniform, and a man holding a young girl.

There is also a list written in English on the lid of the box, but it unclear what that relates to.

Scott uploaded the pictures on Twitter, which now has over 2,500 retweets.

They have appealed for help in identifying the family - or just more information about the photos - and have been overwhelmed with messages of support, interest and encouragement.

They hope to reunite the photographs with the family’s descendants.

Scott added: “I used to do photography as a boy as well.

“I tried scanning them but it was much too powerful because they are quite light.

“I held them up to the sky and took a photo with my iPhone and then opened them up in Photoshop and reverted it from negative to positive.

“I was looking at photographs that someone probably hasn’t seen for a hundred years and I find that fascinating.”

Greg said he is “taken aback” by the interest in the snaps - and hopes the exposure will help to pin down when the photos were taken.

He added: “It looks to me like First World War uniform, but it could be a French uniform.

“The list on the lid of the box, that’s all written in English but it’s talking about them being taken in France.

“I think it’s really sad it’s not with the family.”