Wouldn’t You be annoyed if your Goods arrived Damaged? The GWR jigsaw puzzle made for staff in 1938 sold for £720 at Dreweatt Neate’s Bristol saleroom.

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However, in 1938 the company commissioned one very special jigsaw for internal distribution to staff involved in handling parcels, an important branch of the company's business. The company was concerned at the large number of claims being made for loss or damage and the puzzle was designed to encourage their staff to take extra care.

The idea seems to have been for the staff to take the puzzle home for Christmas and for the family to have fun assembling it while the member of staff would share equal delight in absorbing its message.

It wasn't subtle. In addition to the picture of children weeping at the sight of a broken train set and a slogan pointing out that claims were running at £84,000 per year, the box bore a label reading May you and yours find entertainment at home in solving this jig-saw puzzle. If its message goes home, you will help to solve a big problem facing the Company.

Unlike the other more commonly-encountered commercial puzzles, this one for staff was made on the cheap in cardboard. With relatively little experience of cardboard puzzles, Chad Valley were restricted in the size of dies available to cut the puzzle, and opted to use a small size die which was first used to cut the top half of the puzzle and then rotated to cut the bottom half.

There are not many of them around. The example offered for sale by Dreweatt Neate in their collectors' sale at Bristol on February 8 was offered complete with its original box bearing a hand-written name, Jenkins A.L, who was possibly the original recipient. It sold to a collector of jigsaw puzzles at £720 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer's premium).

By Roland Arkell