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In two sections, the 5ft 11/2in by 3ft by (1.56m x 92cm) chest was, admitted auctioneer Deborah Hulme, in “fairly ropey” condition with veneer lifting to the top and holes from now-inactive woodworm.

A considerable number of viewers were more put off by the later stand and on the day the piece took £4000 from a dealer – which, given initial buyer’s premiums, auction charges and inflation, meant a loss for the vendor.

Although there were no real big hitters in the 804-lot sale, selling rates were good with the bulk of lots getting away. One of the biggest surprises was a Japanese Meiji period carved ivory okimono modelled in the round as a fruit seller and a young helper with baskets of fruit. Although the red signature to the underside was unrecognisable to the auctioneers, the level of interest suggests that numerous dealers had identified it. On the day, the 31/2in (9cm) high piece on a hardwood stand took £2400 against a £200-300 estimate.