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Decorated in underglaze blue, the bowl had a small chip and measured 4in (10cm) in diameter. Sourced locally from a private client, it had recently been valued by another company for insurance purposes at £1000.

Charterhouse auctioneer Richard Bromell felt this to be a bit punchy and gave it a saleroom estimate of £200-250 which it fast eclipsed when bidding started.

Mr Bromell put the success down to “the power of the Internet” and the simple fact that the bowl was slightly better then either Charterhouse or the company which gave the insurance valuation had thought.

Bidders in the room battled it out against telephone bids from a Hong Kong dealer and the London specialist trade, with the London trade posting the winning bid of £4800.

Elsewhere, the sale was fairly buoyant with furniture particularly strong. Richard Bromell believes the key to success in these difficult times is to be realistic.

“You’ve got to give reasonable estimates, otherwise buyers just stay away,” he said, echoing the thoughts of many an auctioneer who has had to persuade vendors to come to terms with today’s market realities.

The best money was reserved for an 18th century joined oak double gateleg drop-leaf table. The oval-topped table which had turned legs was missing drawers and had seen some alterations, but overall it was a quality piece in pretty good condition and, against hopes of up to £2500, it got away at £7800.

A William IV rosewood teapoy with a hinged lid with leaf carved and gadroon edging sold for an over-estimate £1900.

Other notables included a George III needlework sampler initialled C.S. and dated 1813, which took £820, and a Simon and Halbig bisque-headed doll with flirty eyes, open mouth and four teeth, which took £680.