The Bovey Pottery Company ‘Our Gang’ Joseph Stalin figure which sold for £2600 at Lawrences of Crewkerne on April 6.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

This range of caricatures of Second World War types was robustly modelled by artist Gwynneth Holt (1909-95) and architect Fenton Wyness (1903-74). Both were based in Aberdeen in the 1940s.

There are 16 figures in all, each around 8in (20cm) high with a matt buff glaze, including an RAF pilot, an Anzac, an ARP warden, a nurse and ‘The Boss’, Winston Churchill.

Most are relatively affordable (under £100 each), but to complete the set it is necessary to acquire the much scarcer figures of Franklin D Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin.

An example of Uncle Joe – modelled with arms folded and marked underneath Bovey Pottery, Stalin Copyright – doubled hopes at £450 at Woolley & Wallis of Salisbury in June 2007, but when another turned up at Lawrences of Crewkerne on April 6 bidding went further still.

Given an estimate of £100-200 at a Monday valuation day, it attracted the attention of four British bidders on the phone and the internet before it sold at £2600 (plus 22% buyer’s premium).

Lawrences’ decorative arts and collectables specialist Simon Jones concluded these were very determined bidders looking to complete the set.

“The vendor was in the room and we were both as astonished as each other,” he said.

”Later I spoke to two of our regular ceramics buyers who admitted they would have happily walked past it at a car boot fair.”