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Measuring 14in (35cm) across, it opens to reveal a number of similar boxes, each sharing the same distinctive floral inlay. In addition to its obvious quality and excellent state of preservation, the box (probably made in the Vizagapatam region in the latter years of the 18th century) was much admired for its unusual shape.

Estimated at £300-500 for the sale on October 26-28, it eventually sold to a Sussex collector for a punchy £35,000 (plus 16 per cent buyer's premium).