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Last September Bonhams and Goodman sold a Bubble Canopy MK XVI Spitfire in New Zealand for NZ$28m hammer (£1.03m), although that example was not airworthy.

Their latest Spitfire to be offered, originally built for the RAF in 1944, was sold in 1948 to the South African Air Force and was discovered languishing in a Cape Town scrapyard in the late 1970s.

It was completely restored and overhauled by its previous owner, the late Paul Portelli, including a change from its original single-seat to two-seater status. Its new owner, a keen adventurer, was the first person to drive across the Bering Straits in 2002 and three years later became the first man to fly from pole to pole, landing in Antarctica in January 2005.