When purchased in 2017 a typed note with the bottle said: ‘A ship in a bottle, vintage, a schooner in full sail, the bottle stopper unusually with a fouled anchor and Turk’s head binding. The underside of the bottle with the legend Liquor Bottle, Perth, Scotland’. Ships in bottles are often referred to as ‘impossible objects’ because it is hard to understand how the ship can be got into the bottle.

The mercury must be manouvered to fill as many holes as possible in the Eiffel Tower, without the mercury going out of play by falling to a lower level on the left of the puzzle. The item was made in France and the rules on the back are in both French and English. A number of players can be involved, the winner being the person who fills the most holes with mercury. The item can equally well be treated as a dexterity puzzle.

This is a modern example purchased from The British Museum shop in 2017. It was said to be painted by a Chinese painter. The stopper is probably agate. Both sides of the bottle are shown in the photographs. These objects are often referred to as ‘impossible objects’ because it is hard to understand how such detailed painting can be achieved on the inside of the bottle.

Each of the five boxes requires two moves to open it. Each box has a different animal design on the lid. On the inside of the lid of the outer box ODAWARA MADE IN JAPAN and a symbol are stamped in ink.

The six metal saucer shaped discs have to be interlocked to create a dice that will withstand normal handling. The advertising window card comes from a Davenport storeroom. The advertisement is from Davenport’s house magazine ‘The Demon Telegraph’, No. 118, April 1949. The puzzle came with very helpful instructions, although considerable dexterity is needed to complete the dice. The address of Samson is given as 246 Tottenham Court Road, London.

The puzzle is to open the piece. It advertises M.C.L. AND REPETITION LTD. The outer surface also includes the words BRITISH ALUMINIUM BA-35. This will be the alloy type from which the puzzle is machined.