Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

With its roots in the 14th century, the craft, still practised, has enjoyed intermittent fame across the centuries encouraged by, among others, Catherine the Great and Stalin.

A 9in (23cm) wide 18th century casket with stained bone panels signed and carved with hunting scenes was offered at Mallams (20% buyer’s premium) in Abingdon on October 8. Estimated at £1500-2500, it sold to a Russian collector at £6000.

Two other small boxes impressed. A medieval, 12in (30cm) wide beechwood and iron coffret, covered with tooled leather depicting knights and maidens, went to the Continental trade at a double-estimate £4800.

The other was a c.1580, 10in (25cm) wide French Renaissance jewellery box with fitted interior and secret drawers and an exterior decorated with monograms and symbols. Supposedly once owned by Louise-Marguerite de Lorraine, Princess du Bourbon-Conti (1588-1631), it sold to a UK collector above estimate at £2200.

Casket stars in Suffolk

The 17th century Indo-Portuguese casket above, with tortoiseshell ground and all-over mother-of-pearl swag, was an unexpected star at Bishop & Miller’s (19% buyer’s premium) October 20 sale in Stowmarket.

With a white metal loop handle and elaborate lock plate and clasp and a velvet-lined interior, the 8¼in (21cm) tall box was guided at £1000-1500. After strong competition from the Continent and South America, it sold to a London dealer at £5000.