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The undeniable star was this gypsy wagon, right, built in 1908 by Dunton & Sons of Reading, considered to be the very best builders of this particular type of wagon.

It was a genuine piece and was discovered by the vendor outside a pub in Hastings back in 1979. It was then restored over a period of four years by John Pickett of Dorset and was in “excellent” condition.

“Because the terrain in the South is much flatter than the more hilly North, the design of wagons differs,” said Ms Needham. “This design was undoubtedly the Southern connoisseur’s vehicle.”

The profusely carved maroon body had chamfered upright ribs, scalloped edging and carvings all of which were highlighted in green, yellow, red, white and gold leaf. The waistboard below the windows was thought to be unique on a Reading wagon by Dunton.

Expected to bring between £18,000-20,000, the wagon was contested by an agent bidding on behalf of an American client and a Hampshire private collector of gypsy descent with the hammer falling in favour of the latter at £24,000.