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The gift of a wooden love spoon carved with symbols of marital bliss – an anchor for security, a keyhole for the family home, a chain to maintain the link between lovers – was an eccentric means of solving this problem.

Some personalised with dates, initials, and romantic inscriptions, the 50 or more examples offered by Bonhams (27.5/26/20/14.5% buyer’s premium) in Edinburgh on September 27 included some of the finest made in the late 18th and early 19th century before commercial production began.

Amassed by a Welsh couple throughout their married life, the collection included items from a number of well-known British treen groups including pieces from the WJ Shepherd collection sold at Sotheby’s in 1983. Bonhams called it the finest collection of Welsh treen ever presented for sale.

Pictured here are some of the individual highlights, including an early 19th century broad handled spoon initialled RS which was pierced with a gunship in sail and a whale, which topped proceedings at £800.