Nautical memorabilia brought together over many years at the 500-year-old Smuggler’s Cottage at Tolverne, on the banks of the River Fal, has reached £10,000 at auction.

One hundred historic lots went under the hammer at Penzance Auction House on Thursday, March 1, with 941 people registered to bid mainly from across Cornwall – but with some travelling from as far as Northumberland, as well as bids placed from Russia, China, Turkey, Portugal and America.

“This sale was a treasure trove of historical items which were fascinating,” said auctioneer, David Lay. “Our top selling piece was a brass telegraph from the old Torpoint ferry. It is the machine used by the captain to signal to the engine room. Usually they are marked “full ahead” or “astern” but this one says "Cornwall" and "Devon" instead.”

“One of our most unusual items was a fiberglass figurehead from the HMS Foudroyant – an 80-gun ship in the Royal Navy. It looked the part, but was a fiberglass copy which, despite its damage, incurred bids of up to £80.”

An oak US Navy issue office chair that was used at Smugglers Cottage and is reputed to have been sat in by General Eisenhower went to Lamorna for £480, whilst the telegraph from the Torpoint ferry reached £1700 and sold to a Saltash Museum.

An infantry helmet went to the Isle of White for £80 whilst eight 15th Century cannonballs dredged up from the River Fal were sold as two lots reaching £180 each.

Many items reflected the Second World War and Falklands Conflict, as Smuggler’s Cottage became a “second home” for members of the SS Uganda Society – devotees of the former passenger ship that was laid up in the Fal for a year after service as a hospital ship in the Falklands Conflict of 1982.

Auction lots included numerous SS Uganda souvenirs, such as a gangway departure board, sailors’ hats, commemorative plaques and ashtray, brass plate, copper and brass anchor lights, a collection of photographs and prints, and a wall-mounted cabinet containing more items from the ship.

Smugglers Cottage was also a major base for the build-up to the D-Day landings in the Second World War and the auction featured a cabinet full of D-Day memorabilia and an Ordnance Survey map of Truro and St Austell for the D-Day landings, published by the War Office in 1941 with various hand-drawn official markings and references for the historic operation.

A miscellany of items from various other ships – such as lights, anchors, sextants, rudders, old radios, clocks and compasses, bells, figurehead and ships’ logs - featured, along with a large collection of photographs of vessels that have been laid up in the Fal over the past century. Famous global sailors Robin Knox Johnston, Sir Francis Chichester and Claire Francis were also represented