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“People seem to collect going backwards,” says Steven Bosley. “They start with the Second World War or SAS, then go back eventually to Boer War, Crimea, and then go for earlier periods. The more advanced in their field they are, the further back in time they go, starting basically around the Waterloo period.”

Plenty of good examples are available for a few hundred pounds, but there were stand-out results for early badges from the late 18th and early 19th century in the March 7 sale. These have the advantage of being both beautifully made and visually impressive.

An Irish 27th (Enniskillen) Regiment of Foot, officer’s Regency pattern shako plate c.1822-29 doubled the top estimate at £3000, and a “magnificent” 16th (Bedfordshire) Regiment officer’s belltop shako plate c.1828-44 did the same in selling for £2400. A Hertfordshire Militia Georgian officer’s shoulder belt plate c.1800 took £1,900 (estimate £800-1200).

The Irish badge came from a lady who had inherited a small collection. “She just sent them to us and we found this wonderful gem inside.

I don’t recall there ever being one of those for sale before, not in last 40 years or so at least,” said Bosley.

“Irish and Scottish regiments and the Guards are all things that attract attention, not just from the British market but overseas as well.”