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The outstanding ceramics entry was a pair of gilt bronze mounted porcelain vases, each formed as two carp.

Consigned to the Essex rooms by a vendor from nearby Saffron Walden, they triggered a memory in the mind of auctioneer Guy Schooling who found an identical pair in a two-year-old catalogue from one of the London rooms.

He opted for the same catalogue description – Louis XV-style vases thought to be French late 19th century, glazed in turquoise with the mounts cast as bullrushes – and the same estimate, £1200-1500. As the substantial 17in (43cm) vases had been stored under the stairs for a number of years, the vendor would presumably have been happy with such an outcome.

However, their excellent condition and decorative merits attracted huge trade interest and they were always likely to fetch more. Still, even Mr Schooling said he was astounded by their eventual success – they took £12,600 from the London trade underbid by a Leeds dealer.

They were not, however, the day’s top sellers. This honour went to a Victorian twin-pedestal mahogany dining table thought to have been originally part of a three-pedestal table. On outswept reeded edges and with a single extra leaf, the 8ft 4in by 4ft 4in (2.54m) table was of good colour and quality. Even so the quadruple-estimate £17,000 bid by the London trade seemed a strong price, although the consensus was that it was not wildly high.

Against that price, a West Country dealer acting for a New York client was presumably happy to secure a mid-Victorian D-end mahogany dining tableon carved trestle supports extending to 10ft (3.04m) at an above-estimate £6700.

Among the smalls, a 30-piece collection of thimbles attracted specialist collectors, with a 19th century silver gilt example with a view of Brighton Chain pier topping the section at £550, while among the ivories a tusk carved with tigers attacking crocodiles made a mid-estimate £1080 and a signed 21/2in (6.5cm) okimono representing the Immortals took £560.

Sworders, Stansted Mountfitchet, March 13
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent