An elderly Malmesbury couple were delighted to find that an enamel sign they owned was worth £3,000.

The couple, who want to remain anonymous, took four signs they had to a valuation day at Bridges Lockstone estate agents, expecting them to be worth about £100 in total.

David Rogers, of Bridges Lockstone, said: “I did not have a clue what they were worth.

“When I took them through to see the auctioneer I nearly dropped one of the signs. Thank goodness I did not damage it.

“They said they’d had them for years and did not really know where they came from and could have been in the house when they bought it.”

The signs went to auction on Saturday at The Chippenham Auction Rooms, and despite only two of them selling, the couple walked away with a healthy profit.

One sold for £250 while the other made £3,000.

Auctioneer Richard Edmonds said the collection was a real find, with one of the signs being particularly rare. He said: “It is a small Fry’s Tom Brown ‘so near and yet so far’ sign, one of the most iconic in this type of advertising and is from around 1900. This is why it made £3,000.”

The auction also included a collection of rare postcards of Malmesbury and Chippenham, some never seen before by expert curators at the Chippenham Museum. They made £380 collectively.