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In French taste – sides pierced with vertical pales below a border of leafy scrolls – the pieces, 251oz in all, were by the respected Henry Garrard and had, almost certainly, never been auctioned since their manufacture in 1906.

Even so, the £3000-5000 estimate did not seem laughably conservative until a London dealer – this was not a case of two private buyers with their own agendas – had to go to £26,500 to secure them.

If the silver baskets were elegant and understated, the succeeding lot – a 3ft 13/4in by 201/2in (96cm x 52cm) ten-light candelabrum – shouted out for attention. By Robert Hennel, 1874, its tiered branches were ornamented with berried leaves on a turned stem encircled by three deer. The candelabrum was not, perhaps, to everyone’s taste – specialist Anthony Kilroy said it “would have looked its best in a grand stalking lodge” – it nevertheless sold at its lower estimate to the silver trade at £10,000.

Carpets, of course, regularly mean more to the specialist trade than to the rest of us, and at Lawrences a c.1920s Sparta carpet with bad wear and cuts, and estimated at £150-200, sold to the trade at £9000.

But it was an unassuming item of furniture that generated the most commission bids: an early 19th century camphor wood trunk, 4ft (1.22m) wide. Unusual in having two drawers to the base, it was set with flush brass straps and handles. One private buyer, plagued by moths eating his cashmere jumpers, was desperate to buy the lot. But the £1350 winning trade bid proved too great a price for him to pay.

Among the ceramics, a Chinese Qianlong famille rose tureen, cover and stand painted with a peacock and hen design, flew past a conservative £600-900 estimate, selling to a dealer at £4200.

And more of a find – it was discovered by an eagle-eyed porter in a tea chest – was a Meissen elephant. Had it been in good condition – it lacked its trunk and a tusk – it would, thought Richard Gold, have made around £15,000. As it was, the elephant on a rococo ormolu plinth with later rider in the form of a 19th century gilt naked putti flanked by wicker panniers, took £4400 from a dealer.

Lawrences, Crewkerne, February 15
Number of lots offered: 584
Number of lots sold: 399
Sale total: £850,000
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent