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While the decanters were undoubtedly special, each measuring 16½in (42cm) high, bidders responded to the emsemble: the brass-bound and velvet-lined box (originally for four bottles and used by the local vendor as a television stand) retained its original castors that allowed the weighty contents to be moved around a dining table with ease.

Against underbidding from the internet, the lot sold to a Norfolk dealer at £17,500 on November 24.

Neal Sons & Fletcher are one of the few salerooms in the country who do not charge a buyer's premium.