WITH only eight of the 300 lots bringing four-figure sums, the Mallams (15% buyer's premium) sale on August 25 was a fairly sleepy summer affair by usual standards at Oxford, but there were pieces of interest throughout for budget-conscious bidders.

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One of a pair of Florence Barlow Doulton vases which took £1250 at Mallams.

Standard furniture included a 4ft 3in (1.30m) tall George IV mahogany four-tier whatnot at £1100 while a three-piece mahogany framed bergère drawing room suite which was taken to a double-estimate £1500 still looked reasonable value for money.

Catching the eye, too, among the furniture, as such lots are doing increasingly, was a pair of beech bentwood chairs designed by Alvar Aalto and with the Finmar Ltd label. Estimated at £300-500 the chairs, with later upholstery, sold at £1000.

Among the ceramics was a pair of Doulton green ground pottery vases, 12 1/2in (32cm) tall decorated with chaffinches on a branch by Florence Barlow which took £1250 against a £300-500 estimate.

Best of the glass was a 13 1/2in (34cm) tall Bohemian ruby glass jug with pewter-mounted lid and six matching goblets all on a circular tray engraved with stags which made a mid-estimate £1000.

Works of art were led by a Japanese carved ivory group of chickens on a cherrywood pestle and mortar.

Measuring 8in x 7in (20 x 18cm) this took a lower estimate £1000.