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Among the silver was a
ceremonial axe with a silver head and ivory handle, 5in (12.5cm) long, marked for London 1882 and inscribed Norseman launched 1881, Birkenhead Iron Works. As it was plainly a specially commissioned piece, presumably by the ship owners or builders who equated Viking Norseman with axes, it was difficult to estimate and carried a £150-200 guide.

However, the axe, entered by a Midlands private source, was in virtually untouched condition and still in its original presentation case and it sold to a Midlands dealer at £1100.
Equally attractive, and almost equally unusual, was a gilt metal posy holder.

This remarkable 51/2in (14cm) compendium had an oval micromosaic of flowers
to the front, a notepad in the form of a fan of four ivory leaves in a pierced cover to the reverse, and a screw-off mother-of-pearl handle concealing a pencil. Pretty rather than practical, it was in almost totally unused condition and went to a Warwickshire dealer above estimate at £1150.
Back in more familiar territory, the best prices of the sale outside the pictures came on 19th century mahogany.

A Sheraton-style display cabinet with swan-neck surmount above a pair of glazed doors and a serpentine base of two drawers with satinwood stringing and floral inlay, did better than expected when it sold at £2750.

A 4ft (1.22m) boxwood strung demi-lune sideboard was also in demand. Featuring a turned brass gallery above a central drawer and shaped apron flanked by a pair of cupboard doors, and raised on four square tapered legs with spade feet, it brought a top-estimate £2500.

Top selling ceramic was an 18th century caneware oval teapot and stand, impressed Turner. It had been restored but with its pineapple finial anthemion border and leaf-moulded handle it was a pretty piece and sold at £300.

Brightwells, Leominster, August 15-16
Buyer’s premium 15 per cent inc vat.