Charity pleased as Punch as puppets go to auction

Chris Quinlan from St Luke's Hospice with the Punch and Judy puppets.
Chris Quinlan from St Luke's Hospice with the Punch and Judy puppets.
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THAT’S the way to do it!

Classic children’s puppet Mr Punch is set to give a funding boost to a Sheffield hospice as he goes under the hammer at a special auction of classic toys.

A complete set of handcrafted Punch and Judy characters – including Punch, his wife Judy, the policeman and the crocodile – are to be sold along with a full-size puppet theatre following their rediscovery after years in storage.

The glove puppets were once used to entertain young visitors to St Luke’s Hospice Summer Fair, and after they were dusted down the charity’s area shops manager Chris Quinlan realised the set could be valuable.

She contacted Sheffield auctioneer AE Dowse, on Scotland Street, and the whole collection will now go to the highest bidder at a sale on Saturday, when the puppets are expected to fetch between £250 and £400.

“It really is one of the most unusual things we have come across for sale in a very long time,” said Chris.

“They’re all beautifully hand carved and dressed so they’re totally unique and represent a fascinating piece of theatre history.

“They’re in excellent condition too so I think they could go on entertaining generations of children for many years to come.”

Punch and Judy shows were first performed in England in the 17th century.