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Auctioneer Simon Windibank intially thought the 2in (5cm) blue and white oval piece was probably 18th century Worcester or Caughley and gave it a tempting, but, considering it was cracked not unreasonable, estimate of £100-150.

However, the pre-sale interest from as far away as America gave Mr Windibank reason to think that it was actually a rarer Lowestoft piece and on the day the eyebath, with floral decoration on a square stem and round base, went to the London trade at £2000.

Things optical were very much the talk of the day when the joint highest bid was made by a dealer on a Cartier folding lorgnette with its handle inset with allover diamonds. Dated to the 1930s, it came in its original Cartier box bearing French marks. The piece itself was not stamped Cartier but nobody doubted its rightness and it went to a dealer at £2400.

Estimates are not printed in the catalogue but Mr Windibank had reckoned £500-800 on the lorgnette. Similarly, he had hoped for a total of up to £600 on a private collection of 42 hatpins offered as ten lots. This is, however, a coming collecting area and the collection, ranging from silver to micromosaic and from Scotland to Satsuma, totalled £1200.

Given the American interest in the sale, it was interesting to note that the US trade was outbid in most areas and the one four-figure lot that did go across the Atlantic went on the lower estimate. This was a pair of 2ft 6in (76cm) black and grey marble round trumpet-shaped urns on separate square bases. They could have been as late as the 1950s but they had considerable decorative appeal – such a key factor these days – were in good condition, and went at £1000.

Most of the four-figure prices among the 1000 lots – which enjoyed an 83 per cent success rate – came for furniture, and sharing the top price slot of the day was a George III mahogany breakfront writing table with inlaid stringing and bowed centre drawer flanked by two small drawers on square tapering legs. Mr Windibank entertained very modest hopes of £400-700 on the 3ft 6in (1.07m) piece, but the trade went to £2400.

Then, a local dealer went to ten times the estimate to secure a George III oak and banded corner cupboard. Standing 7ft 5in high by 4ft 1in wide (2.25 x 1.25m) and with twin panel doors enclosing shaped shelves above two further doors and three drawers, it sold at £1450.

Other furniture bids more in line with expectations included £1650 on a George III mahogany linen press, 7ft 6in (2.02m) tall with panel doors enclosing sliding trays above two short and two long drawers (private); £1550 on a William IV figured rosewood breakfast table with 4ft 1in (1.25m) diameter tilt-top on octagonal bulbous supports with round platform base and claw feet ((trade), and £1200 on a 3ft 6in (90cm) George III mahogany bowfront chest of two short and two long drawers (local trade).

P.F. Windibank, Dorking, December 2
Buyer’s premium: 10 per cent