A RARE model of a British warship is expected to fetch up to £5,000 when it goes under the hammer.
The 200-year-old model, which is made from old cattle bone and box wood, will be up for auction at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall on Saturday.
The item, which dates from around 1800-1810, was found in a loft in Lichfield by a retired couple.
The couple, who wished to remain anonymous, were delighted to learn it was anticipated to sell for between £3,000 to £5,000.
It is also expected to attract international interest.
The couple said: “Despite being sold at an auction in land-locked Derbyshire, we hope the wind will blow and the ship will set sail with a gale behind it.”
Charles Hanson, manager of Hansons Auctioneers, said the model ship would actually have been carved by captured French prisoners who had served Napoleon Bonaparte.
He described the intricacy of the detailing on the model, which is also housed within a glass and walnut display case, as “superb”.
He said: “The fine carved work and symmetrical hull and deck is remarkable, together with the delicate rigging.
“The prisoners who made such works of art were not treated like convicts, they were confined to the likes of prison hulks in naval dockyards, old castles or purpose-built prison camps such as Norman Cross or Dartmoor.
“On the encouragement of their captors, they formed their own guilds to produce small objects d’art to sell in the camp’s periodic civilian open market.”
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