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Alvar Aalto Paimio chairs – £6200 at Lacy Scott & Knight.

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Among their purchases were a pair of model 44 Paimio chairs, a model 544 three-seater Paimio sofa, a model 906 coffee table and a pair of model 611 stacking chairs, all labelled for the makers Finmar and stamped Aalto Design Made in Finland.

They emerged from storage when a warehouse was due to be demolished and were among the most eye-catching items at the 20th Century Art & Design sale at Lacy Scott & Knight (20% buyer’s premium) of Bury St Edmunds on March 22.

Sound structures

Top-sellers were the Paimio chairs. One had some lifting to the lamination on an arm, both had surface staining and scratches and the springs were shot. More importantly, the structure on each was sound and the upholstery, though worn, was original and complete with no tears.

Against a £500-1000 estimate, the pair sold at £6200 to a London dealer. The same buyer bought the three-seater Paimio sofa. It too bore the signs of its 80-odd years but was generally in good condition with what appeared to be its original green fabric herringbone upholstery.

Against a £400-600 estimate, it sold at £3800.

The birch and ply ‘double’ coffee table with 2ft 1in (63cm) diameter top was scuffed but and wholly original down to the untouched patina. Pitched at £100-200, it went to a German buyer at £920.

The same bidder bought the birch and upholstered stacking chairs, designed in 1929, which were catalogued as structurally weak with a replacement (oak) leg one. Estimated at £50-90, the pair made £420.

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The Modern market abounds in 20th century furniture selling in three figures, often late examples of favourites with long production runs. Unmistakable in style and period was this Art Deco single drawer oak kneehole writing desk, with open end bookshelf supports standing on ebonised plinths. A period eye-catcher of attractive simplicity and, against an £80-120 estimate, sold to a private bidder from Hertfordshire at £180.