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His assessment after his March 11 sale? The larger auction attendances of recent months are yet to result in higher prices. With collectables now frequently out-performing traditional antiques, it is becoming more and more difficult to predict values. In this difficult market he is grateful that he is an auctioneer and not a dealer.

It was a niche collecting area which furnished his 780-lot sale with its unexpected bid – £600 on a Norris 50G smoothing plane. This rare beast – a gunmetal coffin smoother with walnut infill and handle by one of Britain’s most famous woodworking names – had been consigned for a general sale as part of a box of planes. Examples can make up to £1000 if in very good order.

Sold at £160 was a Huntley and Palmers biscuit tin modelled and lithographed as a bundle of books while – following an earlier sale of a Muffin the Mule pouffe at £290 – a boxed puppet of the nostalgia-provoking television star sold at £85.

Clarice Cliff has a much longer collecting history and here her Bizarre Patina pattern tea-for-one set (minus the teapot) made £440 followed by another design classic of that period, a Cube tea-for-one set at £95.

The top prices of the day were provided by three period standards. An oak longcase with a dial engraved for John Peck, Wellingborough sold at £1500; a substantial Victorian twin-pedestal, mirror-back sideboard made £1200, and an elegant Edwardian mahogany veneered corner cabinet took £1000.