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The firm recently went into receivership and local agent John Morphett bought them. As proprietor of South Lakeland Caravans, Mr Morphett only has use for the warehouse and so has consigned the entire Bygone Times International stock to Manchester auctioneers Smith Hodgkinson.

“I could not even begin to estimate how much this sale could make,” auctioneer Andrew Duckworth told the Antiques Trade Gazette.

“Walking into the warehouse is like entering Aladdin’s Cave, you would not believe what is in there.” So what is in there? The stock includes two bars from a Chicago whorehouse; a 1928 limited edition model T Ford, fireplaces, post boxes, signal lights, luggage trucks and even a set of wrought iron entrance gates from a Scottish castle which are expected to fetch around £40,000.

But the undoubted highlight is a 1928 REO Speedwagon ‘Keystone Cops’ fire truck which for many years was part of a Chicago-based collection used by film makers.

Expected to make £15,000-20,000, Mr Morphett has decided
to donate the proceeds from
the sale of the fire truck to the
New York Uniformed Firefighters Scholarship Fund in the wake of the September 11 tragedy.

All the items will be sold without reserve on the Bygone Times International premises from May 10-12.