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While a ladder is an investment worthy of careful thought, it's hardly in the same league as buying a car or a house – the financial outlay won't break the bank. Highly specialised ladders and scaffold towers can be in the same ballpark as a used car, but a simple wooden ladder shouldn't set you back more than around £100.
At a recent auction in Bolton, a wooden steeplejack ladder sold for £1000, with a similar one selling for £950. Why did these ladders attract such a high price? Well, they were owned and used by Britain's most famous steeplejack Fred Dibnah. The more expensive one, decked out with black ribbons, was used to carry his coffin so it is no surprise that this commanded a higher price from fans of the late TV presenter and personality.
Three ladders were sold in total, with a price of £550 for the cheapest. They all bore the company name “Fred Dibnah and Sons Steeplejacks Bolton” for provenance and were painted red with the words picked out in white. It is unlikely that the ladders will be used again for their intended purpose and as they are now in the hands of collectors they will most probably be used as statement design pieces in a domestic home.
The sale was set up after the owner of the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre, Leon Powsey, decided to retire and sell the contents of the museum, which has been open since 2010.