What made the Donna Nook lifeboat special was that it was almost entirely crewed by farm labourers, who had never been to sea except on the lifeboat.
Auctioneer James Laverack said: “The treacherous beaches and the huge tidal range of the section of the Lincolnshire coast south of the Humber mouth was a dangerous place for shipping. It was an obvious spot to station a lifeboat but there was no local seafaring community that could provide a crew. For the entire 100 years that it existed (1829-1931) the Donna Nook lifeboat was crewed by volunteers from the local farms.
“They never had a powered motor boat – they had to row or sail to the rescue.
“The boat was at least self-righting, a feature that would save the lives of the entire crew in December 1922 when they went to the aid of a sinking Danish fishing vessel that had been drifting in the North Sea for nine days.
“The lifeboat had rescued the Danish crew when it was hit by a massive wave that overturned the boat, throwing 11 of the 13 lifeboatmen and the four fishermen into the sea. The lifeboat immediately self righted and everyone was able to get back on board.”
James added: “One of the certificates of thanks on vellum that the RNLI awarded to all members of the crew after that rescue is amongst a collection of Donna Nook lifeboat memorabilia that has been entered in the auction at the Old Wool Mart (Tuesday, July 28) by descendants of John Dobson, the last coxswain of the lifeboat.
“The collection also includes the bronze medal and certificate on vellum that Coxswain Dobson was awarded for his part in another dramatic rescue, involving the crew of the SS Whinstone, a cargo vessel that went down in a North Sea storm in November 1925.
“The collection has a pre-sale estimate of £200-£300.”
The auction is the second sale to be carried out at the Old Wool Mart with social distancing and precautionary measures in place.
It has a strong gold section with numerous coins ranging from sovereigns to Austrian ducats going under the hammer.
Meanwhile, another noteworthy entry is a spectacular collection of Royal Crown Derby paperweights that includes a number of the large, limited edition, first quality, series that are all expected to make in the £500-£700 range.
The full auction catalogue will be available on the firm’s website (www.johntaylors.com), and the viewing sessions are on the afternoon of Sunday July 26 and the afternoon of Monday July 27, and are by pre-booked time slot only (01507 611107).
There will be no pre-sale viewing on the morning of the auction (July 28), and attendance at the auction will be by pre-booked place.