Postcard sent by George Bernard Shaw, £650 at Mullock’s.

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Signed GBS and dated April 1927 by Shaw, the message on the back of the photocard reproduced here, which sold at £650 to an online bidder at the sale in Church Stretton, Shropshire on February 23, would appear to hint at a rather wicked sense of humour.

Shaw writes: “I did not know that Gurney [the actor, Edmund Gurney] was dead but I thought you were, it has been so long since you reminded me of your existence.

“I seem to be surviving everybody but how can I help it unless I commit suicide. It is none the less bad manners. I apologise I am delighted to learn that you are still in the living”.