1. Chinese pen box – £33,000
Estimated at £300-500, this finely decorated Qing famille rose pen box and cover was knocked down for £33,000 at John Nicholson’s in Haslemere on April 24.
Measuring just 6in (15cm) across, it opens to reveal compartments for brushes and ink blocks.
Although unmarked, this diminutive scholar’s object was thought to date to the latter years of the Qianlong (1735-96) period or that of his successor Jaiqing (1796-1820).
2. Pilot’s log book – £2900
This Air Training Auxiliary (ATA) Pilots Flying Log Book belonged to Miss Lesley Cairns Murray who was killed aged 28 in a crash while flying a Hudson aircraft on 20th April 1945.
Murray, a Londoner who trained in the summer of 1942, began ferrying duties in October of that year, a task for which the women pilots of the ATA became famous. The aircraft she flew include Spitfire VIII and IXs, Swordfish, Hurricanes, Defiants and Seafires.
Her logbook, a poignant item evoking the sacrifice of young women pilots during the war, was sold together with photographs of Murray and her crashed aircraft and research identifying her grave in Chislehurst.
Offered by C&T Auctions in Tunbridge Wells on April 24 with an estimate of £800-1200, it sold to an online bidder at £2900.
3. Rustic nutcracker – £4400
Among the most desirable of all nutcrackers – and antique treen objects in general – are the carved figural models produced in the 17th and early 18th century. This example, in yew, is modelled naively as a man's head and incised with the ownership initials AT.
At Tooveys in Washington, West Sussex, on April 23 it sold to an online bidder at £4400, way above the £80-120 estimate.
4. Victorian cameo brooch – £4400
The property of a deceased estate, this Victorian oval shell cameo brooch depicting an angel sold to an online bidder for an unexpected £4400 at Semley Auctioneers in Shaftesbury, Dorset on April 20. It was estimated at £80-120.
Large at 2in (5cm) high, and housed in an unmarked gold rope twist frame, the unusually high quality – and a reference in the catalogue of faint markings to the reverse – suggest it was possibly by one of the handful of master shell carvers of the period.
5. 18th century Memento mori ring – £7000
Some of the most striking mounting jewellery was produced at the end of the Stuart period. This Queen Anne gold memento mori ring carries the black enamel decoration of a skeleton, a skull and cross bones and a pick and shovel.
An oval locket compartment glazed with faceted crystal also contains a skull and cross bones between the gold wire letters EJ to a hair woven ground while the engraved inscription to the interior reads ET obt 29 Aug 1712 aet 45.
At Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on April 18 it sold to an online bidder at £7000 (estimate £600-800).