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The Shipping and Maritime Museum in the Westphalian town of Senden, near Munster, in northern Germany is to close its doors after 19 years. Owned and run by ageing private enthusiasts, they have decided that the time has come to give up their responsibility and sell the entire collection at auction.

With more than 1sq km of floorspace at the museum, this means that more than 1600 exhibits of maritime interest will be put up for sale over two days on April 19 and 20 by auctioneers Leonhardt-Auktionshaus.

There is an extremely wide range of items on offer, from beautifully carved scrimshaw, through mariners’ equipment to stunning models of ships. Catalogues can be ordered via the auctioneers’ Website at www.Leonhardt-Auktionshaus.de or by telephoning the auctioneers on (0049) 172 531 5550.

Star lot in the Shipping and Maritime museum’s sale is this 1:15 scale model of the ill-fated 17th century Swedish flagship Wasa, which sank soon after launch and never saw action.Modelled only about 20 years ago, this magnificent piece of craftsmanship, which took 4000 hours to complete, is about 15ft (4.5m) long and, among other statistics, boasts 650 hand-carved figures, 78 cannon, 12,000 wooden pegs, 6000 nails, 500 metres of planking and 11,500m of rigging. It is estimated at €140,000.