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Auctioneer mortar-fied as he values WWI fanatic’s explosives

Having a blast: Auction assistant Alex Downer with just some of the WWI shells set to go under the hammer this month

AN AUCTIONEER was ‘shell-shocked’ when he went to value memorabilia in a WWI fanatic’s man cave — it housed a massive collection of military explosives.

The 100 inactive field gun and aircraft shells weighed in at more than a tonne.

And the inert ballistics are expected to fetch a bomb when they go under the hammer on June 22 at Yeovil Auction Rooms in Somerset — in the region of £4,000-£5,000.

Kid gloves: Alex carefully holds one of the ‘amazing’ explosives

Auctioneer Shaun Rock, who valued the items, described the owner’s man cave in Yeovil as ‘amazing’.

The collector, in his 60s, became obsessed with memorabilia because his granddad, who fought in the Royal Artillery, brought shrapnel home from the war.

The small fragment was passed down through the family and inspired the impressive collection.

Ready for auction: The collection is estimated to fetch between £4,000 and £5,000 PICTURES: SWNS

Mr Rock said: ‘His grandfather was in the Royal Artillery and fought from the trenches.

‘When he came back, he brought a piece of shrapnel and handed it to his son. His son then passed it on to our collector. This small fragment sparked the obsession.

‘There’s around 100 shells weighing a tonne and a quarter. Some have original timers on the top, but are all inactive.’