Secret WW2 spy gadgets sell for £17k at Bristol auction

secret ww2 spy gadgets sell for 17k at bristol auction - Secret WW2 spy gadgets sell for £17k at Bristol auctionImage copyright East Bristol Auctions
Image caption A pair of dominos concealing a hidden map sold for £800

A collection of “secret spy gadgets” sent to British soldiers trapped in France during World War Two have been sold for £17,000.

A pair of dominos concealing a map went for £800, and a camera hidden in a pocket watch made £2,200 at East Bristol Auctions in an online sale.

The items were collected over 40 years by former soldier Arthur Muggeridge.

Auctioneer Andrew Stowe said: “I think these lots struck a chord with people. The items were small acts of bravery.”

Image copyright East Bristol Auctions
Image caption This camera, disguised as a pocket watch, fetched the highest price in the auction at £2,200

The secret items, hidden in everyday objects, were originally distributed by the government department MI9 to British troops stranded in occupied Europe, to help them carry out espionage and sabotage, and aid their escape.

Other highlights of the sale were a string vest that could be turned into a rope, which sold for £100, and a smoking pipe containing a hidden dagger which sold for £520.

“It’s a fantastic result and unsurprising given the interest we had. We had bidders from around the globe including America, Italy, Spain and Canada,” Mr Stowe said.

“These items gave those trapped soldiers hope of escape.”

Two taxidermy studies of carrier pigeons, with secret message capsules, sold for £240 and £170.

Image copyright East Bristol Auctions
Image caption Secret message capsules were attached to the legs of a carrier pigeons

A miniature spy camera sold for £980 and a hollow key, used for holding secret messages, sold for £680.

A champagne cork and a Bakelite shaving brush, both with hidden compasses, fetched £160 and £320.

The collection was made available by relatives of the late Mr Muggeridge and was part of a sale of specialist military, history and transportation auction.

It had been estimated to sell for about £6,000.

Image copyright East Bristol Auctions
Image caption The items were collected over 40 years by former soldier Arthur Muggeridge

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