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The chocolate bar 118 years past its sell-by date: Sweet that was given to Boer War by Queen Victoria goes up for auction

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/07/2018 Laura Forsyth
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A chocolate bar sent by Queen Victoria to soldiers fighting in the Boer War has been discovered in a cupboard.

The tin, which was made by Hudson Scott and Sons in Carlisle in 1900, was part of a batch that had been sent to troops in the Boer War.

According to auctioneer Paul Cooper, although the sweet gift was mocked by French cartoonists at the time, soldiers appreciated the Queen's gift so much that most sent it back home unopened.

Queen Victoria © Provided by Getty Queen Victoria The 118-year-old confectionery item came to attention after a World War One chocolate gift tin was auctioned in June.

Mr Cooper revealed that a pensioner in London contacted the auctioneers to say she had even older chocolate.

The woman had kept unsold souvenirs and collectables when her shop closed 25 years ago.

He said: 'She dug into a cupboard and found the Boer War tin - with the chocolate still inside.'

Scunthorpe auction house Eddisons CJM claims that it is 'probably the most controversial chocolate ever made'.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Queen Victoria paid for the gift tin to be sent to every soldier in In 1899 in order to cheer them up.

At the time chocolate makers Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree were pacifist Quakers and were against the war.

These companies weer concerned about being seen to profit from the conflict or the reputational damage if they didn't comply. 

At first they donated the chocolate for free, in unbranded tins but the Queen was adamant that the troops knew they were getting British chocolate.

The firms backed down, marking some bars however tins were never branded.

© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Cooper added: 'Slight differences meant the auction house had 'been able to identify this tin as one of those ordered by Cadbury from Hudson Scott and made in Carlisle in 1899'.

The tin of chocolate is set to be auctioned on Tuesday.


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