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Untouched Easter egg bought in 1939 to be auctioned

21 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Sybil Cook aged nine in 1939 and the 84-year-old Easter egg. Photo Hanson’s Auctioneers

An 84-year-old Easter egg which was left untouched by its recipient because of wartime rationing is set to be sold at auction.

The chocolate egg was given to then-nine-year-old Sybil Cook in 1939 but with the Second World War looming, her uncle advised her to ration it slowly and savour every morsel.

Despite loving chocolate, she never ate a single piece, treasuring the treat for six years during the Second World War and never touching it throughout the rest of her life until she died aged 91 in 2021.

The ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary’ egg still has its blue and white paper, complete with a decorative garden scene of a little girl with a watering can.

Sybil’s daughter Gill Bolter, 61, a director of a hospitality company from North Rise, Cardiff, said: “Mum loved life and chocolate. She was born on March 4 1930 and would have just turned nine when she was given the egg in 1939.


“With war looming her uncle said, ‘You be careful with that my girl, there might not be any chocolate around soon’. He told her to ration it. Amazingly, she was so disciplined and respectful to her elders she never ate a single piece.

“When we asked mum how she’d managed to keep the egg for so long she told us that having kept it all through the war it didn’t seem right to eat it.

“She did scratch a bit of the paper off the front when she was little, just to check there was chocolate behind it.

“The egg was very precious to her. Having kept it safe through her childhood she took it with her when she left home to get married in 1955 and for 60 years had it tucked away on a shelf in her bedroom in Bilton Road in Neath. The egg has now ended up in a cupboard in my bedroom.

“After we lost her one of the care home nurses wrote a lovely tribute. She said, ‘I would offer her a piece of chocolate after her evening medication. She’d always smile mischievously at me and say, why not? It’s the best medicine after all’.

“Her Easter egg brings back happy memories for us all including my daughter, her only grandchild.

“Mum loved antique shows on TV and would have been thrilled to be part of this. It would be lovely if the egg went to a museum alongside Mum’s wartime memories.”

Sybil Rees (nee Cook) in 2019. Photo Hanson’s Auctioneers

The box still bears the owner’s name, written in pencil, and the year ‘1939’, and will be sold by Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers on May 18 with a guide price of between £600 and £800.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “The story surrounding this Easter egg melted my heart.

“It’s a wonderful reminder of wartime austerity, respectful obedience and a little girl who was so strict with herself she would not allow herself the tiniest nibble of her favourite treat.

“Sybil’s egg is a reminder of those difficult days. She came from a generation that understood hardship. They learned to cherish and appreciate the smallest things. That’s a very fine character trait to have.”

More information about the auction can be found online.

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Brian Carnevale
Brian Carnevale
1 year ago

One of the best stories I have read this spring. Many Thanks for including photos of her and her egg. Very special. The Grand-daughter should keep this egg and cherish it!

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