Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

During the First World War many fundraising events were organised to provide aid to wounded soldiers or those suffering in the theatre of war. Thousands of British women of all classes became involved in Voluntary Aid Detachments and some put their organisational skills to use by setting up and running their own war charities.

Particularly popular were ‘flag-days’, when small colourful paper flags, emblems and badges were sold for a penny or more each. Agnes Brysson Morrison, the daughter of an Edinburgh lawyer, is credited with starting the movement that would raise over £25m.

Although produced in large numbers, these paper flags were quickly discarded and are surprisingly rare today. A collection of 47 different ‘penny flags’ will form part of Sworders’ Homes and Interiors sale in Stansted Mountfitchet on October 29.

Each pin is dated in the album (from March 10, 1915 to April 25, 1917) with examples including the fabric pink rose for Queen Alexandra’s Rose Charity (June 21, 1916); Help Russia (July 4, 1916) and YMCA Hut Day. The YMCA opened hostels for soldiers on leave and awaiting training who had to stay overnight in London – these were known as huts.

The collection is estimated at £80-120.


These two characterful salt glaze stoneware chess pieces are by Guy Sydenham (1916-2005) who is best known as modeller for some of Poole Pottery’s most adventurous designs of the 1960s-70s.

These models, the queen standing just over 4in (11cm) high, are both signed to the base. The pair is expected to sell for £300-500 at the Roseberys’ auction titled Design: Decorative Arts 1860 To The Present Day in West Norwood, south London, on November 4.

roseberys.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com

The toys sale at Keys in Aylsham, Norfolk, on October 30 will include two rare Mickey Mouse papier-mâché masks made under licence in Germany in the early 1930s.

Relatively few of these early style marks (also made in the UK and France at the time) have survived in such good condition. The estimate is £200-300.

keysauctions.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com

The Specialist Toys for the Collector sale at Special Auction Services in Newbury on October 29 includes five rare die-cast vehicles by the Britains factory (of lead soldier fame). Most were made just prior to the onset of the Second World War.

This Model Home Farm Four- Wheeled Lorry, in green with original white tyres and black hubs, comes in its original box.

Estimate £300-500.


This framed and cased mummified feline includes a label reading Mummified kitten found behind old match-boarding.

It was not unusual for dead cats to be placed in the cavity walls of Tudor homes to ward off evil spirits or a perceived deterrent for vermin. Bidding at a Dreweatts online sale ends on October 26 – just in time to be bought for Halloween.

Estimate £80-120.