Good things come in little packages, they say, and that was certainly the case with this charming oasis scene right out of The Arabian Nights.
Each painted hollowcast lead figure and accessory arrived at a Capes Dunn valuation day wrapped in tissue paper, having been treasured and stored away for many years. The challenge facing the Stockport auctioneer was identifying them and, absent of any marks or box, they had no choice but to err on the side of caution. Specialist Christopher Coram, who runs their Lytham St Annes office, thought they were by William Britain & Sons, a toy company founded in 1893. Buyers probably thought so too, the lot prompting fierce bidding on commission, in the room, on the internet and on the telephone.
The 50 or so pieces representing Arab figures, camels and palm trees, together with three canvas tents, sold to a London bidder for £2,600 against an estimate of £200-300.
The Arab figures sold for £2,600