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Any antique associated with bears – whether black, brown or grizzly – commands an exceptional premium in the US at present, and it was the presence of at least three American dealers underbidding on the telephone which compelled an English collector to go to three times the estimate to take the hall seat at £5000.

Some consolation came for one of the Amercian dealers in the form of a matching occasional table from the same source which he took at £2900 – again three times the estimate.