Valuable toys credited with helping a four-year-old Denstone girl recover from scarlet fever are expected to fetch thousands at auction.
The set of nine Steiff animal skittles previously appeared on Antiques Road Show and now seems destined to find a new home.
The set dates back to 1907 and was taken to an antiques valuation event hosted by Hansons Auctioneers, in Etwall, in January.
The owner asked to remain anonymous, but did explain how the toys came into her life.
She said: "In 1946, when I was four, I was seriously ill with scarlet fever. I remember my mother bringing them into the bedroom and lining them up along the top of the fireplace. She told me they were magic and would help me get better.
"I was only tiny and, at the time, thought they were huge, about a foot tall.
"I found them decades later in a cupboard at my mother's house and was surprised to see they were only a few inches tall."
The vendor believes that the Steiff skittles were given to her late father as a christening present in 1907.
In 1998 the family took the skittles to the BBC’s Antiques Road Show in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
The owner said: "They were valued by Jon Baddeley, who is also managing director of international auction house Bonhams.
"He said they were worth between £8,000 and £10,000. I remember my mother saying 'that's ridiculous' because we were all so shocked they could be worth so much.
"We placed them in a bank vault for safe keeping but they were water damaged there."
Despite fears the skittles were damaged beyond repair, she managed to dry them out.
She said: "I wrapped the skittles in tumble dryer fabric softener sheets to absorb the moisture and put them in the airing cupboard for three months, taking them out frequently to brush them with a tiny paintbrush.
"Bit by bit, the toy animals dried out completely and were restored."
In 2013, the toys were valued and given an estimate of between £4,000 and £6,000.
However, due to the fluctuating nature of the toy market, the skittles are now expected to fetch between £2,500 and £3,500 when sold at Hansons Auctioneers, in Heage Lane, on Thursday, February 22.
The set is almost complete, including nine themed skittles. Only the accompanying ball is missing.
They are painted to look like animals, including a king pin bear, cat, rabbit, pig, lamb, elephant and three dogs.
Each carry the iconic Steiff button in the ear, which identifies them as real.
The German firm was founded in 1880 and is believed to be the first company to create teddy bears in 1902.
Victoria Sheppard, valuer at Hansons stumbled upon on the skittles while at a valuation event at Fairways Garden Centre, near Ashbourne.
She said: "These toys are wonderful. Everyone at Hansons was bowled over by the cuteness of the animal figures – and the fact that they had stood the test of time. After all, the set is more than 100 years old."
Anybody interested in the lot or any other being sold at the dedicated toy auction at Hansons Auctioneers can find out more by emailing email@example.com or calling 01283 733988.