Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Indeed, Herefordshire auctioneers Brightwells (15% buyer's premium inc. VAT) were sufficiently confident enough about the chances of an Edwardian silver wine cooler in the form of the Warwick Vase to use it to illustrate the catalogue front cover for their 19-20 March sale.

Carrying makers’ marks for Walter, John, Michael Stanley Barnard and Robert Dubock, London 1903, the cooler featured the distinctive vine embossed handles, moulded head of Bacchus and lion skin and mask decoration.

The auctioneers enthused about its “admirable condition and crisp detail”, and certainly the London trade were interested beyond the £3500 top estimate before being beaten by a local Herefordshire collector who went to £5050 to secure it.

More run-of-the-mill silver also fared well enough, including a pair of oval salvers with gadroon rims on shaped feet by J. Crouch, London 1807 and a complementary two-handled oval tray with gadroon border by Crouch and Hamman, London 1801, which sold within estimate at £1650 and £1480.

With more than 1200 lots there was, of course, much more to the two-day event than the sale-topping silver.

Going through some of the classic sections a brief resumé of the sale must include:

A pair of Royal Worcester 7 1/2in (19cm) tall waisted vases painted with Highland cattle and signed H. Stinton which took a mid-estimate £2000.

The metalware and treen section included a Victorian rosewood-cased stereoscope viewer in a rosewood cabinet complete with slides and a carved elm gingerbread mould with animals and foliage inscribed Here’s Fowl and Fish to adorn your Dish and dated 1751. These each made £2800, the stereoscope by M. Pillischer, London having been given a top estimate of £1000 but the gingerbread mould going below its lower estimate of £3000.

Best of the clocks at Leominster was a regulator longcase inscribed to the square silvered dial September 1925 and with a glazed panel to the mahogany trunk. It went over expectations at £4500.

Top seller among the furniture was a considerable surprise - a huge walnut double corner cabinet catalogued simply as Georgian. With a moulded cornice above a fitted pair of doors, each with three square panels with a pair of single panel doors on a plinth below, the 8ft high by 4ft 5in wide (2.44 x1.35m) cupboard carried top hopes of £800 but sold at £3100.