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A detail of the Pelham Puppets Type SL Professor Bookworm sold at British Toy Auctions.

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Offered together, a single lot contained the sought-after Professor Bookworm, together with Mrs Bookworm and Baby Dragon.

All three had instruction sheets, strings untangled, hands and clothing “bright” – and came in the original boxes “with some age wear and storage imperfections”.

The trio was consigned from a private vendor in Cheshire who had owned them since childhood. The auction house said it had “a great deal of interest in the puppets with two phone bidders, several commission bids and around 12 bids on the internet”.

Estimated at £800-1000, they sold to a private collector in Norfolk via the phone for £1900.

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The lot containing three Pelham Puppets – Professor Bookworm, Mrs Bookworm and Baby Dragon – sold for £1900 at British Toy Auctions.

Collectors categorise Pelham Puppets by head type. Those carrying the initials SS have a spherical wooden head, SM denotes models with a larger wooden head and an opening mouth, while the most common SL puppets have hollow heads produced using a mould.

Bimbo makes it big

The current record for any Pelham Puppet is the £4100 bid in 2015 for 6ft 9in (2.05m) model Bimbo the Giant Clown that was used by Bob Pelham to promote the brand from the early 1950s.

It was from the collection of more than 1500 Pelham Puppets formed by well-known Lincolnshire collector Kaye Casey and sold by Bamfords in Derby across three sales.