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Over the 14 day period that the 3ft 4in (1.02m) wide toy was on offer, it attracted a total of ten bids as two bidders fought to secure it. Victory came for the successful purchaser, a UK dealer, at 8.10pm GMT. The price compares with an estimate of $24,000-32,000 and Sotheby’s reckon it is the highest auction price paid for an antique toy sold on the Internet.

The battleship, which dates from c.1902, had some rusting and chipping to its original paintwork, a detached forward mast and lacked one lifeboat, three guns and the bow and stern flags.

It was originally bought for Eton-educated Reginald William Phillips who was born in May 1896, entered the 1st Battalion of The Grenadier Guards and was killed in action at Vermelles in 1915. Offered for sale by Reginald Phillips’ niece, it had remained in the family and was recently discovered in redundant servants’ quarters amongst a collection of stuffed birds.