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No doubt some bureaucrats would like to see the lot melted down but instead a great number were to be consigned to the March 21 sale held by Burton auctioneers Richard Winterton (10 per cent buyer’s premium). How the strong collectors market would have reacted to such a huge supply is moot – as it was BTS officials became too involved with the Foot and Mouth crisis for the plan to go ahead in full and only a few weights were entered.

Pictured is a cased set of three bell weights from the Hampshire Trading Standards office which led the section. Oddly enough there was strong interest from long-time metric Germany and the Netherlands in the rare set of graduating brass weights, each marked Corporation of Southampton, 1866. Desirable due to their early date and original leather carrying cases, they had been expected by auctioneer Adrian Rathbone to bring around £800 but they eventually went to a collector for £1700.