Each 3ft (91cm) tall, the two pairs, differing only slightly at the paw feet, showed top-quality craftsmanship and – having been used in recent decades as stands for rare books to be perused by white-gloved students – were in fine condition.
It is a scarce form. “The only problem was wondering who would want to use them,” said auctioneer Martin Lambert, who put a come-buy estimate of £300-500 on each pair while hoping for as much as £1500.
In the event, the battle between the dealers resulted in the first pair offered selling at £4300 and the underbidder on that lot coming back to take the second pair at £4800.
From the same source – though from an outhouse/ workshop rather than the hallowed halls of academe – came half-a-dozen late entries.
Best of these was a 7ft 5in tall x 11ft 6in wide (2.26 x 3.52m) mid-19th century oak library bookcase.
“This is generally for restoration,” noted the catalogue in a condition report which pointed to the absence of the original doors to the upper section, damage to the cornice, missing moulding on one of the six breakfront section panel doors and separating planks to another.
It was estimated at £300-500 but the trade evidently saw its potential beneath the dirt and dust and the bookcase went to a dealer at £3200.