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Colin Stott, who had sold £1500-worth of sets by noon at 'Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair'.

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Worcester dealer and former engineer Colin Stott had sold £1500-worth of sets by noon at Malvern, to a dealer and a nurse who collects.

Field instruments

One of Stott’s stand-out items was this English brass and mahogany Victorian c1870 surgeon’s field kit, complete with amputation saw and trepanning instruments by Weiss.

“After the latter part of the 19th century, anaesthetics and sterilisation had revolutionised surgery and field devices became more functional and less ornate, made of plainer materials suitable for sterilisation,” Stott said.

“In the heat of battle, surgeons need to be extra-precise in the field and these kits reflect that.”

He added that provenance documents, such as this 1899 prescription accompanying an apothecary set, are sought after.

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A 1899 prescription accompanying an apothecary set that was offered Malvern flea.

‘Naughty’ biscuit tin

Biscuit maker Huntley & Palmers got more than it bargained for in 1979 when it commissioned freelance artist Mick Hill to illustrate its biscuit tins in a period style.

Unknown to his client, the mischievous Hill included a naked couple and copulating dogs in his depiction of an Edwardian tea party.

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Karen Dalmeny with one of the Huntley & Palmers biscuit tins.

Once Tesco discovered the image’s secret, it rejected an order of 5000 tins, which have become highly collectable.

In 2004, one was auctioned for more than £400 at Lawrences of Crewkerne. At Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair in January 2020, you could buy an example from Karen Dalmeny for £38.