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Most of the 201 lots sold on or around estimate, with 91 per cent changing hands – 93 per cent by value.

Top price was the low estimate £750,000 paid for the first lot in the evening session, Claude-Joseph Vernet’s (1714-89) large pair of oils on canvas, one showing an Italianate landscape with fishermen, the other a Mediterranean scene.

Among the better performing lots was a pair of French ormolu-mounted tortoiseshell, brass and pewter boulle marquetry petites commodes, which were reconstructed incorporating 18th century elements. They quadrupled their high estimate to sell at $400,000 (£212,000).

The result means that Partridge’s new chairman, Mark Law, can clear a major hurdle in taking the business forward. When the sale was announced in December, he explained that its purpose was to help meet the company’s obligations under the acquisition deal.

Amor Holdings Ltd, the financial vehicle Mr Law set up specifically for the deal, had agreed to use the proceeds of the New York auction to pay back the £4m Christie’s put up to fund the initial stage of the Partridge takeover.

Additional monies would be used to cover costs and expenses. It is not clear whether the sale has made enough for a hoped-for shareholder dividend, but the sale took place against the backdrop of a weak dollar, which would not have helped.