Blakeman said: “A couple walked up to the BBR stall at a show at the Adams Social Club in Leek and asked if I bought pot lids. Not wishing to leave my table, I suggested they brought it from the car to show me, to which they replied ‘no it’s too big’.
“As it happened to be my birthday I feared this may be a practical joke, but when the boot was opened there was a gobsmackingly large exhibition pot lid – as dug, complete with Sellotape to the damage.”
Such lids (only four are known) were made as shop window promotional pieces for Victorian retailers who agreed to stock 100 tubs of Gosnell & Co cherry toothpaste. It was featured alongside a youthful Blakeman on the cover of the programme produced for the first UK Summer National bottle and advertising fair in 1985 and became something of a symbol of the Elsecar Bottle Museum after it opened in 1991.
Blakeman, who began acquiring bottles in his teens, is to sell much of his own collection via an auction in Elsecar, South Yorkshire on September 11. He told ATG that most of the collection has been in storage.
“Time and again my daughter has said ‘Dad you need to sort it all out’. Thus was born the sale which has enabled me to fulfil a lifetime dream of owning a Martin Brothers wally bird”.
The promotional lid is estimated at £2000-3000.