When the Troika pottery in Newlyn closed its doors in 1983 its moulds were secured for posterity, not in a local museum or the collection of a Troika devotee but in a garden shed in Northumberland.
There, save a quiet attempt to find a buyer for the whole collection and occasional exhibition loans, they have resided for over a decade, in which time interest in Troika has risen steadily.
Prices remain volatile but four-figure sums are not uncommon for the landmark pieces.
It is, he says, with some trepidation that North East auctioneer Jim Railton offers for sale ten of the moulds as part of a three-day auction at Brancepeth Castle from November 11-13. The lots include the original two-piece moulds for now iconic Newlyn period models, including the face-mask and the anvil vase but - given the potential for reproduction and deception - he acknowledges that there are some in the collecting community who believe such things should either be smashed or donated to a museum.
Pricing the moulds is not an easy task (and the vendors are evidently not prepared to pitch them low and let the market decide), but Mr Railton believes some of the major moulds should attract interest in the £2000-3000 price bracket.
A quantity of undecorated biscuit-fired Troika from the same source is also included in the sale that is the first Mr Railton has chosen to list live on eBay. Contact 01668 215323 for more information.