Thousands of artefacts from a bygone age went under the hammer at a lively auction on Saturday.

Dodds auction house in Mold was packed for a sale of tools, gadgets and machinery from a great collector of agricultural and industrial relics from our rustic past.

The unnamed hoarder was a plumber-turned-blacksmith who died in his 90s after amassing a stunning assemblage throughout his lifetime.

Bidders came from all over and they were bolstered by people following the auction on the internet.

Tools of every description went under the hammer – but the most plentiful were the ‘Thor-some’ assortment of hammers which sold in bundles of up to 20 and more.

But it was the more unusual objects, of which there were scores, that attracted the most interest and liveliest bidding.

The most expensive lot in the part one of the sale was a collection of 21 cows names, simply stencil-painted on wooded plaques.

Dating from a gentler time when cows still had names – Buttercup, Cowslip, Primrose and Snowdrop to name but a few – the bidding shot up to £200 before developing into a dogfight.

The bidding continued climbing until the hammer eventually fell at £390, plus the 15 per cent auction house commission plus VAT.

The winner was well-known collector John Salisbury, who had helped advise Dodds on the items in the sale.

A former farmer, he said afterwards he had to have them, almost at any price, as their utter charm evoked fond and powerful nostalgic memories.

Among the other oddities and curios, an eel spear went for £42, a bull leader (a bull’s nose tool) fetched £32, an early wooden malt shovel made £22, and a ‘vintage round headed cutting tool’ – revealed to be an old-fashioned dog tail docker – sold for £40.

There were scores of woodworking and wheelwright’s tools, cobblers tools and watchmakers tools and automobilia and railwayana too.

Auctioneer Anthony Parry lightened the mood occasionally with his clever patter and he had the bidders in stitches with a wisecrack about a lot featuring a handful of crowbars.

“Anyone after a night job?” he asked, to much mirth.

An anvil and a collection of swages (blacksmithing tools) sold well for £250, as did the dozens of other lots related to metal-working.

There was plenty of interest in the machinery too although the practicalities of getting the some of the bulky and heavy items home restricted bidding to a dedicated few.

An antique belt-driven pillar drill, named The Denbigh, fetched £280 and a wheelwright’s mandrill, used for making metal bands, made £110.

A large 19th century pig bath fetched £100 while the half-dozen fabricated weather vanes resting inside it went for £115.