Bottle collection started by two boys who stumbled across Victorian rubbish tip could fetch tens of thousands of pounds

A collection of antique bottles and flagons which started when two teenage boys stumbled across a lost Victorian rubbish dump is expected to make tens of thousands of pounds when it goes under the hammer on Wednesday.

Back in the 1970s brothers Mark and Simon Fletcher came across a stoneware ginger beer bottle sticking out of the ground in the garden of their new home built on the site of an historic farm at Old Clee on the outskirts of Grimsby.

The tip would eventually yield over 200 antique bottles. Whilst the lads eventually lost interest their father, businessman Ron Fletcher, carried on collecting for the next forty years.

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The auction at Scunthorpe's Eddisons centre will see over 800 bottles and flagons up for sale, recalling a disappeared world where countless businesses brewed ale, manufactured soft drinks, concocted remedies selling it in shops and pubs found not only in town centres but on streets and in villages everywhere.

Eddison's Adam Martin with a ginger been bottle expected to make over a thousand pounds

Paul Cooper of auctioneers Eddisons said: "One of the star lots is a small stoneware ginger beer bottle made in the late Victorian period for the Grimsby & London Economic Supply Co.

"It is viewed in collecting circles as one of the classics, indeed the bottle adorned with the company’s eagle and anchor trademark has been described as ‘possibly the UK’s finest pictorial ginger beer bottle.’

"One example sold at auction for £1,500 a couple of years ago and that had a slight chip. Ours hasn’t got any damage.”

The collection includes almost forty from towns and villages all over Yorkshire and they include some that have "rather amusingly baffled the bottle collecting world", he said.

Mark Fletcher who, together with his brother, discovered the lost Victorian rubbish tip

“We particularly like the glass bottles made for T. Linsley & Co, one of the major Hull breweries of the Victorian period.

"The firm’s trademark is almost always described in collecting circles as ‘a man on a horse’.

"In fact as any Hull local would tell them, the trademark is actually a King on a horse – the city’s King Billy statue!”

The fully illustrated catalogue is available on the Eddison CJM website. The online auction is scheduled to close at 1pm on Wednesday October 13.

Auctioneer Paul Cooper with just a few of the bottles that filled the Old Clee House