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The auctioneers also looked back into their past – one of the top entries had been previously sold in their rooms 30 years ago.

The Florentine-style fireplace surround – probably 19th century English – had originally been purchased by a local builder who had kept it dismantled in his basement for the next three decades.

Consigned by his widow, the surround, with carved angels above pilasters, was estimated at £1000-1500 but drew interest from the decorating and architectural trade. Although one of the four telephone lines was registered from Chicago, it sold to English dealer on the telephone at £6200.

Two further entries that had been purchased by private consignor several decades ago were a set of eight late 18th century mahogany dining chairs and a Regency mahogany breakfast table, 5ft 6in by 4ft 6in (1.68m x 1.37m).

They were previously bought in 1962 from a Chester dealer at £510 and £245 respectively but were secured in this sale by the same private buyer at £3800 and £7600 – underbid by the trade.

More of a surprise were two Georgian mahogany night commodes with tray-top tambour shutters above a pull-out slide. In consecutive lots, both were given £700-900 estimates but were secured by the trade buyer at £2600 each.

Healthy bidding was also seen for selected ceramic entries with buyers less worried about condition and more interested in buying the best quality.

George Jones’s name was enough to ensure a £2300 bid for a 19th century majolica comport dish supported by two cherubs holding an urn despite a loose top. There was a good smattering of Worcester porcelain, the best being six coffee cans, 1913-14, which were painted by Austin with Australian native birds and matt gilt interiors. The group went to a trade buyer at £5000.

Walker Barnett & Hill, Cosford, May 1
Buyer’s premium: 12.5 per cent