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Twentieth century design is in great demand judging by the slew of record-breaking prices seen in the half dozen multi-consignor and single owner auctions held by Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York last month.

Included amongst the auction highs claimed in New York was the $70,000 (£40,460), plus premium, paid by a New York decorator at Sotheby’s for a cabinet by ‘Mouseman’ Robert Thompson which featured in their December 12 auction of (predominantly French) post-War decorative arts formed by the fashion designer Wolfgang Joop.

The chunky, vernacular-looking two-section oak cupboard, which measures 7ft x 5ft 6in x 2ft 6in (2.1m x 1.7m x 76cm) carried two hand-written labels to the interior, one inscribed Will Dawson, the other with the date 1923.

As a result the auctioneers ascribed the prominent and elaborate iron hinges on this piece to Dawson and dated the cabinet very precisely to 1923. This makes it an early piece of Thompson’s work and also a very early use of his trademark ‘mouse signature’ carved here onto the back left edge.

Sotheby’s $4000-6000 estimate was admittedly pretty modest for a Mouseman piece of this status but the final price was also extremely high as nothing approaching this sum seems to have been recorded in the salerooms so far.

The Joop sale generated no fewer than seven new auction highs for different 20th century designers.