TWO super-fans of a classic double act are set to make thousands of pounds when their unique collection of letters go under the hammer.
Grandparents Rodney and Margaret Hardcastle, from York, bought letters penned by Stan Laurel in 1998 but have decided to auction them off to give others the chance to experience the joy of reading the correspondence.
Mr Hardcastle, York Theatre Royal chairman between 2013 and 2014, became encapsulated with the humour of the 1920s film stars as a child, and his affinity with the stars of early American cinema has carried on for decades.
"When I was 10 my mother took me and my eldest brother to Dewsbury Empire to see Laurel and Hardy films and I was captivated by their comedy genius," said the 72-year-old.
"It has continued over the years and we have collected a lot of memorabilia, but the crème de la crème are the letters, which we purchased from Sotheby's auctioneers in 1998."
"We have looked at them regularly and read them from cover to cover and had a lot of friends who have been enthralled by them."
The first collection of letters, to be auctioned at Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland on September 15 for around £12,000, consist of 41 notes to Nellie Bushby, a relative of Laurel's from UIlverston.
In the letters, which he sent while on tour in the UK, during filming in France, and his eventual retirement in California, Laurel writes about his experiences and the struggle both himself and Oliver Hardy suffered in later life with illness.
The second collection was sent between Laurel and his friend Peter Preece, who became friends with the stars during their UK tours.
Mr Hardcastle bought the letters from Mr Preece but, after years of enjoying the memorabilia, they were placed in the couple's attic when they moved to York in 2007.
He added: "We feel it's perhaps better to put them on the market to let other fans get an insight into the letters rather than selfishly keep them to ourselves.
"Someone else ought to enjoy Stan's wonderful way with words, his grammar and the way he describes things."