This Regency period partners’ desk, thought to have belonged to Lord Palmerston, made £150,000 at Bonhams on November 21.

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Sotheby's and Christie's turned in totals of £2.37m and £2.48m for their main English furniture sales of the autumn season on November 22 and 23, while Bonhams' November 21 mixed English and Continental sale netted just over £1m. All three rooms also turned in strong individual prices for pieces that represented not-to-be-missed buying opportunities.

Christie's produced the most dramatic result when a 2ft 8in (82.5cm) high, George II mahogany display stand of c.1755 from the estate of the late Anne Lady Hollenden trounced a £15,000-25,000 estimate to sell to a private US buyer for £200,000. Sotheby's sale was led at £150,000 by a perennial favourite from the other end of the scale - a Jupe design, mid-19th century expanding circular oak dining table by Johnstone and Jeanes measuring 6ft 10in (2.08m) when fully extended.

Bonhams' best-seller was an impressive Regency period four-sided partners' desk in ebony-inlaid mahogany that is thought to have belonged to the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. It doubled their estimate to take £150,000.

Stylistically the 6ft 3in (1.9m) wide desk belongs to a group of similarly shaped desks on distinctive raised platforms, the best known of which is the richly embellished Anglesey desk sold by Christie's in 1993 for £1.6m. Like the Anglesey desk, Bonhams had attributed theirs to the Mayfair cabinetmaking and decorating partnership of Marsh and Tatham.

By Anne Crane