Skull poison bottles

Skull poison bottles from the 3000-strong Roy Sherwin Collection amassed over 40 years include this trio of small rare examples patented by the Boston US manufacturer Carlton H Lee in 1894. They are estimated at £2000-3000 each at the BBR Auctions Summer National auction on July 2.

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Bottle collectors and exhibitors from the UK and around the world will be descending on the Elsecar Heritage Centre near Barnsley over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, July 1-2, for the famed Summer National Fair.

Presided over by bottle and advertising supremo Alan Blakeman of BBR Auctions, this is the largest event of its kind in Europe and culminates with a high-flying live and online auction on the Sunday.

Blakeman founded BBR in 1980, creating a niche collecting market for bottles, pharmacy and advertising material, with the auctions famed for the dispersal of single-owner collections.

Talking about the 300-exhibitor fair itself, he said: “Stallholders from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and North America are all set to make this a full-blown return after all the Covid problems with spaces filled notably much faster than ever before, with a few stragglers unable to gain a space.”

He added that this may be the last Summer National for two years at the centre, however, as the local council is planning a massive refurbishment of the building and outside areas.