Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

But, while there was much of the more glamorous aspect of militaria among the 770 lots offered by the Sussex specialists in November, there were also reminders that war is hell.

One, from the First World War was a sweetheart brooch. These collectable items, which appear to date back to the American Civil War as a concept, can take the form of sabres, rifles, anchors and so on, often made by the sender as a love token while serving in the Armed Forces.

This one, however, was a finely detailed silver brooch in the form of an early tank and marked for the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company, London 1917. Bidders appreciated its rarity and it sold at £170.

From the Second World War came a German parachutist's helmet. Auctioneer Roy Butler made the point that Wallis & Wallis do not usually give much publicity to Third Reich material. Nor, indeed, does the ATG.

However, the paras were fighting men, not death camp guards, and this helmet was a rarity.

With both national and Luftwaffe decals, and retaining its original lining and straps, it had had some wear but was in overall good condition. It created considerable interest and finally sold at £2100.

The day's best seller came from the more familiar world of early firearms - a c.1800 .65 calibre Elliotts cavalry carbine. Well restored, the fullstocked carbine, complete with regulation brass and steel furniture had a 2ft 4in (71cm) barrel with Tower proof marks and stamped with the Irish census mark.

"Flintlock pistols and longarms have never been more sought after," said Mr Butler after this scarce carbine sold at £3100.