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But after the success of the late summer sale at Leominster on August 27 (buyer's premium: 15 per cent), specialist Kate Alcock also paid tribute to an older auctioneers’ aid.

She reckons holding valuation days before the sale closing date is still one of the best ways to win consignments.

A well-timed valuation day helped generate consignments for a large 244-lot toy section that proved the backbone of this 1116-lot auction.

Whether or not this valuation day led to the private Worcester consignment of a 7 1/4in (18cm) gauge live steam 0-6-0 GWR pannier locomotive, this was the foremost entry.

Entered complete with a driving truck, and a passenger carriage designed for children, and coming with 400ft (122m) of track, it had previously ferried passengers around the vendor’s large garden.

Complete with a transport trailer and a current boiler certificate, the train sold to a collector at £7000.

Elsewhere, a specialist buyer went to £1100 for a Jumeau bisque-headed ball-jointed doll with her original blonde mohair wig signed, Jumeau Medaille d’Or Paris, despite some restoration to the head. Founded in 1842, this French manufacturer pioneered bébé dolls but although they are often noted for their elegant French costumes, this one had a plain outfit.

A more fashionably clad French bisque doll was a Parisienne toy in good condition sporting her original navy and white striped and pale green ruched dress with matching straw and striped hat, 1875, that fetched £820.

A 30-lot single owner Worcestershire doll collection included several contested works including a Negro bisque-headed boy of German manufacture that sold to a Shropshire buyer at £390, while a German bisque-headed girl in good original condition tickled the fancy of a Chester collector at £480.