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Each 2 x 3½in (5.5 x 8.5cm) card was decorated with individual copper-plate engraved designs and each had a fortune-telling text below.

The illustrations are often grimly humorous and the text far removed from anodyne modern fortune-cookie predictions. For instance, the six of diamonds warns the lady holding it You’ll be a bride & soon a widow too/But second marriage you will have cause to rue. The three tells a man Each rising morn will bring thee naught but strife/From lawsuits, quarrels and a scolding wife.

Others were more cheerful, however, and the pack certainly brought a happy result at Stamford.

Such early packs are rare in themselves and extremely so when complete and in near-perfect condition, so the £200-300 estimate always seemed destined to be eclipsed.

It was when the cards went a phone bidder at £3600.