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Topping the auction bill was this 19½in (50cm) high Qianlong seal mark famille rose Imperial vase decorated with chrysanthemum blossoms on a pale turquoise ground, which sold for £8m (plus premium) at Bonhams on November 10.

The vase came from the Matheson family and is thought to have been acquired in Hong Kong in 1914. It has passed by descent from JN Robertson, an employee of Jardine Matheson, to his son Sidney Robertson Roger, thence to his son's widow, whose executors consigned it to Bonhams.

The vase, which had an estimate on request of £5m-8m, was contested by three phone bidders.

Bidding opened at £2m with a contest between two phones manned by Julian King, Bonhams' head of Chinese ceramics in Hong Kong, and their Australian Asian specialist, Yvett Klein, who took it past £7.5m, after which a third bidder came in on the phone of Xibo Wang, Bonhams' Beijing representative, who successfully secured the piece.