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It had been given to the vendor 20 years ago – left on the kitchen wall as a house-warming gift by the lady from whom he bought the house. Since then, the sound of it striking the hours has been annoying the vendor’s wife.

Its value was finally appreciated when Strides catalogued it as Maltese with a 30-hour movement and verge alarm movement by V. Motta, Catanese 1769 and gave it an estimate of £800-1200.

The fact that the clock was illustrated on the front of the sale catalogue suggested Strides were hoping for rather more and four commission bids and four booked phone lines for sale day fuelled these hopes. On the day, bidding opened at £1000 and it finally sold to a London-based collector of Maltese antiques at £6400.

By contrast, a mahogany longcase by Samuel Maddock of Winsford, Cheshire, with a musical movement playing seven tunes looked like being a real disappointment. In a typical broad case with flanking ropetwist columns, it was entered by a Hampshire dealer moving abroad and had been expected to raise North Country interest. It remained unsold in the rooms but a local builder stepped in later and bought it close to its reserve of £4000.