AN auction house is celebrating a new record for its first country sporting sale post-lockdown.

With a sale total of £98,000 and 92 per cent of lots sold, Mitchells in Cockermouth beat their previous sporting sale record of £60,000 by £38,000.

The sale had been ready to go ahead in March but had to be postponed at the last minute due to the lockdown.

Four months later, the sale finally took place over three days from Wednesday to Friday last week and, in spite of losing their internet connection in the middle of the sale due to the BT fire in Newcastle, the record-breaking result has given Mitchells a welcome boost as their business restarts post-lockdown.

One of the star lots in the sale was a curved copper and silver plated hunting horn believed to have belonged to the famous huntsman John Peel (1776-1854) which greatly exceeded its £300-£500 estimate, selling for £1,300. The horn had originally been bought from a sale at Naworth Castle in Cumbria in 2013 from the estate of Thomas Niven, a Carlisle timber merchant.

The highest-selling lots were sporting guns, with the most valuable lot in the sale being a John Dickson & Son 12 bore round action shotgun sold to an online bidder for £5,700. The most interesting gun in the sale, a Merkel 12 bore over under shotgun used in the qualifying rounds of the summer Olympics in 1960 by Victor Brett Huthart, finally sold for £3,000 to a bidder in the room.

Other guns of note were a Kinnear of Buckhaven double flintlock which made £950, and an obsolete calibre Martini Henry carbine action rifle which surprised salegoers by making £700 against a humble estimate of £80-£120.

The top lot amongst the taxidermy was a 35lb plaster cast Atlantic salmon mounted on a mahogany board which sailed past its £300 to £500 estimate, selling on the telephone for £1,600.

Other big surprises in the sale were two late Georgian/early Victorian bayonets which sold for £1,600 against an estimate of only £50-£80, and a Waldron fly-tying vice with attachments which had been expected to make £80-£120 but was eventually knocked down for £1,100.

The fishing section was very strong with most lots selling for well above their top estimates. The most valuable of the reels was an Abu Ambassadeur 5000 Deluxe gold plated and black reel in a mahogany presentation case which sold to a collector for £880 after a battle between two people in the room. A Hardy Perfect brass-faced salmon fly reel also did extremely well in spite of significant damage and, after a battle between a commission bid and the room, the hammer finally fell to the room for £740.

Other valuable lots included a rare early 20th century Kynoch ammunition advertising mirror in an oak frame which sold for £820, just above its top estimate of £500-£800. Among the Beswick figures, a rare Beswick Sussex cockerel Model 1899 was chased by the internet and the room, selling to the latter for £320.

Sporting jewellery also did well with the highest-selling lot being a 9ct gold charm bracelet which sold for a commission bid of £300. A carved pine martin and mouse by the well-known Keswick Artist and member of the Lakes Artist Society Richard “Dick” Fisher (1925-2015) made £280.

Entries are invited for the next Vintage and Antique Toy and Model Sale. For a free valuation of items for sale, such as model trains, die cast models or other antique toys, contact Ewan Duff on 01900 827800.