Huge collection of thimbles goes up for auction at the Pump House in Soberton - and the buyer could also secure themselves a Guinness World Record

A COLLECTION of 27,000 thimbles has been put up for auction – and the lucky bidder will not only secure themselves an impressive haul of thimbles but also the chance of being a world record holder.

The lot has been put on display at Pump House Auctions, in Soberton, and will go under the hammer on June 12.

The collection belonged to Leigh Park pensioner Gladys Minter who has died, and it was left to her niece who has put the collection up for auction in the hope that it stays together as Gladys would have wanted.

Gladys started collecting thimbles on a day trip to Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1980 when she bought a single thimble for £6.25 bearing her star sign, Aquarius.

Some of the thimbles on display at Pump House Auctions, Swanmore.

Not only did Gladys take excellent care of her collection, which filled a whole room in her flat, she also meticulously noted the information about each one on a hand-written note which are still inside each thimble.

Mabel Taylor, head of marketing at the auction house, said they had never seen a collection like it.

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This Leigh Park pensioner has collected 27,000 thimbles - now she's after a Guin...

She said: ‘It is very interesting to look at all the different thimbles. We have them all out on display. It took quite a lot of time to set them all up.

Some of the thimbles on display at Pump House Auctions

‘I have never seen a lot like this before.’

The collection of 26,961-and-a-half thimbles smashes the current Guinness’ benchmark for the largest collection of thimbles, which is 8,003, set by Robert Harper of Ontario, Canada, in 2013.

Mabel said: ‘The family never claimed the world record, so whoever buys this lot could also become an instant world record holder.’

Among the haul are thimbles ranging in price from just a few pence up to hundreds of pounds.

Head of marketing, Mabel Taylor with some of the thimbles at Pump House Auctions

There are thimbles made of wood, rubber, pewter, leather and yarn, with countless sets depicting different items and events.

Mabel said: ‘There are lots of different ones, featuring animals, places, all kinds of different locations. Some of them are really unusual and some don’t even look like thimbles, they are in all sorts of shapes, one is even shaped like an elephant.

‘Every single one has a handwritten note explaining where she bought them from and the value.

Thousands of thimbles up for auction at Pump House Auctions. Head of marketing, Mabel Taylor with some of the thimbles Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘It is so interesting to see.’

People are invited to the auction house to view the collection, which is in the fine art room.

Auctions are due to take place on May 15 for fine art, a general auction on May 17 and another on June 12.

For more go to or call (01329) 836659.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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Gladys Minter, otherwise known as 'Rusty' from Leigh Park, pictured with some of her collection in 2019.