Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Tipped off by clients in Chester, Mr Byrne and his partner Jo Boucher shared the 1000-mile round trip in the company removal van to a two-bedroom, single-storey stone crofter's cottage, returning with contents to offer in  Byrne's (15% buyer's premium)February sale. 

Contributing £1600 to a total of £15,000 - that will be used to renovate the property - was a small collection of blue and white Cornishware kitchen storage jars by T.G. Green. These blue and white hooped designs don't quite command the money they did a few years ago, but unusual inscriptions still command substantial prices. Here, a domed lidded dish, 7in (17cm) diameter, marked Dripping sold for £260. A smaller companion piece, 5 1/4in (13cm) diameter, marked Lard fetched £242, while 5 3/4in (15cm) high storage jars for Brown Sugar, Breadcrumbs and Icing Sugar sold at £100, £75 and £60 respectively.

Highlight of the sale, however, was a small group of attractive Victorian porcelain-headed dolls, which had been sent for sale by a local collector. Pick of the group was a 17in (43cm) high Etienne Denamur bébé c.1895, with plaited wig, painted eyebrows and lashes, fixed deep blue paperweight eyes, open mouth, and pierced ears. The wood and composition jointed body was dressed in a contemporary or near contemporary embroidered cotton overskirt, lace shawl and white leather boots, which tempted one buyer to part with £700 for the privilege of taking her home.

A 13in (33cm) high Eden bébé, c.1890, with bisque head, plaited auburn wig, fixed brown paperweight eyes, painted eyebrows and lashes, her open mouth revealing teeth, and pierced ears, one with an earring, sold for £650, while a marginally taller Simon & Halbig child doll, c.1880,with a bisque socket head and shoulders, sleeping blue glass eyes, closed mouth, kid body with bisque forearms and original shoes, sold for £550.