A ‘closed’ view of the extraordinary miniature radially expanding mahogany dining table sold by Cheffins on September 24 for £8000. Picture by Peter Goodwin of Ipswich cabinetmakers Titchmarsh & Goodwin.

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Full-size examples have made six-figure sums in the past, but here the top measured just 2ft (61cm) across when closed and extended to 3ft 7in (94cm) using two rings of concentric leaves and the wind-out mechanism.

The owner of more than 30 years used it as a coffee table - hence the bleached top with a slight warp had been repolished - but the numbered leaves (some with corner damage) were kept in a modern cabinet and retained their original colour.

When Jupe patented the design in March 1835, the specification stated "an improved expanding table, so constructed that the sections composing the surface may be caused to diverge from a common centre and that the spaces caused thereby may be filled up by inserting leaves or filling pieces".

The presence of the date 1851 to the heavily carved pedestal base on this miniature example suggests it was made for the Great Exhibition. Certainly a century later in the year of the Festival of Britain it was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum when it was said to have been made by one Samuel Hawkins.

Cheffins - who chose only to illustrate the table in its closed position giving little indication of its scale - suggested it might be worth £1000-2000.

In fact bidding reached £8000 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer's premium).

By Roland Arkell