At Bonhams in April another depicting salmon on one side and a fisherman on the other took £8000. In May another decorated with a swan and a goose in flight took £7400 at Lawrences of Crewkerne, while in October £7100 was paid on eBay for a lighter depicting the RMS Queen Mary.
However, the most aesthetically and commercially successful lighters, each designed and made by factory artist Ben Shillingford or Margaret and Allan Bennett between the early 1950s to the late ‘60s, were those decorated using the intaglio technique with fish, reeds and aquatic backgrounds.
The thick layer of Lucite, a material developed by the American air force during the Second World War, provides an illusion of movement.
Pictured above is a good example, a ‘half-giant’ size lighter decorated with freshwater fish offered in Whyte’s (20% buyer’s premium) December 10 auction in Dublin. Worthy of its €3000-5000, estimate, it took €4600 (£4000).