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Although wine-related items are doing well, the gloomier view seems to hold true for beer tankards. Auctioneer Alexis Butcher sees this more as result of condition – beer tankards almost inevitably taking some battering over three centuries, he says, when a really good, undamaged and unaltered tankard turns up it will sell well. His point was backed up by this fine 31oz, 7 1/2in (19cm) tankard, right, by John Sutton, London 1690. In good condition, it sold at £5000.

Nevertheless, this was the lower estimate and other later tankards could be had for much less – a pair of 4 1/4in (11cm) bellied tankards, probably by George Whittam, London 1750, sold below estimate at £2900; an 8in (20cm) baluster-form tankard with later all-over relief decoration of acorns, oak leafs and rural scenes, took a lower-estimate £800, and a pretty 3in (8cm), 5.75oz banded mug by James Scott, Dublin, 1805, could be had for a lower-estimate £200.

The pattern of once keenly sought items getting away but without any real excitement was noticeable in other non-specialist areas.

For instance, a classic set of four boat-shaped sauce tureens and covers by Samuel Meriton, II, London 1791, 68oz in all, went just above the lower estimate to take £3600.

And what looked like a lot for the purist, a pair of cast candlesticks with faceted octagonal bases and knopped octagonal columns, by Edward Penman, Edinburgh 1716, remained a pair of 6 1/2in (16.5cm) 22oz sticks for which demand has flickered, and they sold on the lower estimate £6000.