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Miniature novelty pieces always have a keen following, but what lifted this piece out of the ordinary was its overall quality and detailing. The two doors in the base were lined with satinwood, while the upper doors had astragal glazing and contained a set of miniature but readable copies of the works of Shakespeare.

Bonhams’ specialist Catherine Devereux admitted their estimate was very cautious given the quality of the piece and pre-sale interest meant that by the time of the auction she thought it could end up making around £2000. In the event a mix of commissions, phone interest and bidding from the room took it to double even that level, with the hammer falling to a London dealer.