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This James I or Charles I East Anglian seal-top spoon, above, was therefore a top target for collectors at Lawrences (22% buyer’s premium) at Crewkerne on July 3.

Measuring 6¾in (17cm) long and weighing 1.4oz, it was pricked P over RG over 1616 to the fluted, baluster terminal and struck once to the bowl with a Norwich town mark. The back of the stem bore an incuse G by an unascribed Norwich maker.

Catalogued as 1610-30 and given a modest £800-1200 estimate, the spoon sold to a collector against a determined rival at £8500.

A very different – but equally commercial – face of the collectable silver market was provided by a fine-quality novelty vesta case in the form of a snail made by Thomas Johnson in 1884.

The bidding was far from ‘sluggish’ as it exceeded hopes of £1200-1500 to bring £2700. Back in 2013 the saleroom sold a similar vinaigrette of the same model by Johnson at £8200.