Striking 19th century Italian, gold-mounted tortoiseshell snuffbox with a finely executed micromosaic lid.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Although the 3 1/2in (9cm) wide box was unsigned, auctioneer Andrew Scarborough reckoned the exceptional quality of the micromosaic indicated the workshop of a skilled Rome-based maker.

It was in good condition, other than an old repair to its interior lip, and European and UK-based bidders went into battle for the privately entered tour de force. It sold to one of the latter at £6200.

"In the last few months it has been the good-quality smalls and collectables, rather than the furniture, that have been carrying us through," said Mr Perry.

Overall, the 1034-lot sale realised £106,000.