An unassuming playbill bought in an Epping charity shop for £5 has sold for £4,750 at auction.

The playbill was found to be a rare theatrical advertisement printed on the H.M.S Resolute during its Arctic expedition in the 1850s.

Advertising performances of ‘Taming the Shrew’ and ‘The Two Bonnycastles’, the playbill is a fascinating insight into the lives of the ships crew.

To alleviate their boredom during the winter months berthed at Dealy Island off the south shore of Melville Island, Canada, the men would put on performances complete with costumes and advertising playbills such as this one.

After the 1853 season advertised on this playbill, the HMS Resolute became stuck in ice and had to be abandoned, later to be found by American whalers and sailed back to Britain to be presented to Queen Victoria in 1856.

As a gesture of thanks, timbers from the ship were gifted to US President, Rutherford B Hayes in 1880, who used them to make the Resolute Desk which is still located in the White House's Oval Office today.

The successful buyer at the Sworders fine art auction bid £3,800, with extra fees taking the overall figure to £4,750.