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The collection had been amassed largely during the 1960s and ’70s by a private lady collector advised by Asian art authority Marcel Lober, after whom the Department of Asian Art at the Israel Museum is named.

Focusing on 18th and 19th century pieces, with a few 17th century examples thrown in for good measure, the collection had been bought privately, from the trade and at auction through Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams and nothing had been on the market for more than 20 years.

Much to the annoyance of the trade, the London houses tend to group netsukes together but here each was offered as a separate lot and of the 189 on offer, just six went unsold.

Interest came from the London, German, French and English trade along with a smattering of private buyers and the top lot was a 2in (5cm) high carved 18th century ivory group of Ebisu and Hotei as sumo wrestlers, left. Estimated up to £2000, the restored foot didn’t seem to put off potential buyers and it sold to the London trade at £3200.

With a hammer total of £80,000 this was a strong sale and other significant prices were taken for a 19th century carved ivory group of two shishi. With hopes of up to £1000, the 21/2in (6cm) high group with black details took £2300 and a 3in (8cm) high 18th century carved ivory figure of Seibo brought £1900.